DOJ: Immigration jail shouldn't have to pay minimum wage

SEATTLE — The Trump administration is opposing Washington state's effort to make a privately run, for-profit immigration jail pay detainees minimum wage for the work they do.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued The GEO Group in 2017, saying its Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma must pay the state minimum wage to detainees who perform kitchen, janitorial and other tasks.

The lawsuit seeks to force GEO to turn over profits it gained by underpaying them.

U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan has already issued some key rulings in the state's favor.

But in a "statement of interest" filed this week, the Justice Department called the lawsuit "an aggressive and legally unjustified effort by the State of Washington to interfere with federal immigration enforcement."

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