What role are US corporations playing in tearing migrant families apart?

Reunite children placard protesting the US separating migrant families

Last year, Lacuna interviewed Kendyl Salcito about her work as a global leader in the field of business and human rights.

Now, Kendyl’s organisation Nomogaia is calling for action to address the role of US corporations in the detention and deportation of migrants and the way migrant families get torn apart in the process.

Kendyl tells the story of nine-year-old Marena, born and raised in Colorado.

While Marena was at school, her mother Lara, who had committed no crimes, was arrested and spent the next 11 weeks in an orange prison jumpsuit, speaking to Marena through glass.

In 2006 Lara had facilitated an FBI sting that sent a ring of Indonesian mortgage fraudsters to prison or deportation proceedings.

The criminals started threatening her and her family, so she applied for asylum. Her case was finally denied in 2015. Now Lara is due to be deported.

Marena has never left the US. She is now in therapy and isn’t sleeping.

Kendyl says corporations are facilitating and profiting from this process of separating migrant families. She explains how software upgrades by private contractors like Palantir, Amazon and Accenture have changed the way databases can be searched, allowing immigration agents to round up immigrants like Lara based just on their zip code, rather than on any record of criminal behaviour.

Referencing a CNBC article, ‘‘This is how much it costs to detain an immigrant in the US’, she says GEO Group made over $10,000 for jailing Lara for those 11 weeks.

Nomogaia is fighting for migrant families and children like Marena by working to reverse the laws that are allowing these cases to happen.

Read more about Marena’s story and what you can do to help.

Main image by Alisdare Hickson.