“I am a Canadian born artist, immigrant and now new citizen of the US. Skytyping the word “ SHAME” over the west coast headquarters of Geo Group sheds light on the immoral intersections between for-profit migrant detention and the ways in which our governments have quietly profited from these immigration jails. I follow my phrase with Detention Watch Network's #defundhate. For too long, our representatives have said they care about our communities while simultaneously funding aggressive immigration enforcement and deadly immigration jails. Cutting the flow of money is critical to stopping the anti-immigrant agenda. Though In Plain Sight may seem like a US- centric project, Canada too is complicit in supporting for profit migrant detention in the US. The Guardian Newspaper reported that the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) – which manages $366.6 bn in pension funds on behalf of some 20 million Canadian retirees – holds stock in Geo Group. Facilities operated by Geo Group have been used in recent months to detain families in the United States, following Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” crackdown on immigration by the American government. CPPIB had added to its holdings in Geo Group by 90,000 shares since June 2019 – an increase of nearly 50% – bringing the total investment value to $6.1m. Late last year, the Guardian and Documented reported that the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) held nearly US$8m in stock in Geo Group and CoreCivic. They have since divested and take a position on ethical investing stating that: “Ethical investments are essential to maintaining public confidence in what the Canadian Pension Plan does, and the investments in Geo Group and CoreCivic were deeply offensive to Canadian values.” Cassils phrase placed over Geo Group West Coast Headquarters points to an unholy alliance of big business over human life. This carceral logic must be called out as unethical, inhumane and unacceptable.”
CASSILS is a transgender artist who makes their own body the material and protagonist of their performances. Cassils's art contemplates the history(s) of LGBTQI+ violence, representation, struggle and survival. For Cassils, performance is a form of social sculpture: Drawing from the idea that bodies are formed in relation to forces of power and social expectations, Cassils work investigates historical contexts to examine the present moment. As trans person navigating the US immigration system, they have glimpsed firsthand the unjust, meritless, financially motivated, bigoted and dehumanizing nature of the US immigration system.
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