Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, along with her counterparts in Virginia and New York, sued an immigration service on Monday for accused of prosecuting immigrants in federal detention centers.
The lawsuit, jointly filed with the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau, alleges Nexus’ Libre is misleading immigrants and hiding the cost of its bond payment services.
The complaint outlines a business model where Libre allegedly takes action against civilly incarcerated immigrants who are eligible for a bond by charging expensive upfront fees and subsequent monthly payments that do not count towards the cost of the bond.
According to Healey, her office knows more than 200 former Libre clients in the state.
“We have heard complaints from across the state, particularly from Bristol County, the south coast, but also as far as the Pioneer Valley and Boston,” Healey said in an interview.
Healey described immigrants who received harassing text messages and were threatened with deportation if they missed payments to Libre.
Mike Donovan, President and CEO of Libre by Nexus, said in a statement that he categorically denies all allegations and looks forward to standing up in court.
“Libre is committed to continuing to serve its amazing family of customers,” he wrote in part.
According to the complaint, the company falsely presents itself as affiliated with the federal government, in particular the U.S. Immigration and Customs Service (ICE).
The court records explain a system in which Libre acts as an intermediary between the imprisoned immigrants and the agents of the bond.
“Libre requires detainees to enter into an agreement with certain obligations and in return undertakes to reimburse the guarantees and their guarantee agents for losses related to the immigration guarantees. The guarantees then issue immigration guarantees and issue them to secure their release of the prisoner. “The complaint is partial.
According to the files, Libre threatens to arrest a person again if they refuse to carry out the agreement already signed by their co-signer, who is often a family member or friend. Upon signing the agreement upon release, the individual is required to wear a GPS ankle monitor – a bond condition sometimes but not always imposed by ICE – and pay a monthly fee of $ 420 for the duration of their immigration process. this can often take years.
Healey encouraged Massachusetts residents who have signed agreements with Libre to contact her office.
“Building a business … through the exploitation and hunting of immigrants and their families; exploiting the confusion and fear that comes with the detention process; what Libre has done is wrong, inhuman and illegal,” she said.