In Response to the Misleading Mother Jones Article on Libre by Nexus

IMG_0427A recent Mother Jones article by a freelance journalism student about Libre by Nexus is an example of misleading, biased, and sloppy journalism at its worst. Mother Jones’ allegations that Libre by Nexus unfairly profits from immigrants and is in cahoots with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are simply ridiculous, reprehensible, and demonstrably false.

Libre by Nexus is a 100% voluntary program that has helped reunite over 7,000 families with loved ones who otherwise would be sitting in a detention center, deported, or in some cases, much worse. We provide a short-term solution to help people get out of immigration detention. Our clients and their families come to us during times of dire need. As such, we take our responsibility seriously and work arduously to ensure that they fully understand how our program works. To this end, our agreements are in our clients’ native languages and we carefully explain it to them with a certified translator if needed. We are also a compassionate company—from covering healthcare costs to offering scholarships and providing free legal representation, at Libre by Nexus, we go above and beyond for our clients and their families.

We have never returned a client to immigration officials for failing to pay program fees. Further, we do not collaborate with immigration officials unless we are obligated to do so by law pursuant to a valid court order. As Mother Jones fully knew before making this absurd claim in its story, the emails and court records they cited were within the context of legally-mandated communications. If Mother Jones had any interest in writing an objective article, it would have noted this along with the fact that we have challenged such requests in the past to ensure their validity and protect our clients. The fact is that we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year employing dozens of full-time attorneys across the country to prevent the deportations of our clients and their families.

Mother Jones fudged facts, cherry-picked evidence, and even ignored its own reporting to characterize our voluntary monitoring program’s fees as excessive. Libre by Nexus’s $14 per day fees are within the range of the industry averages noted in a Pew study. Yet, to make its case, Mother Jones resorted to apples-to-oranges companions between our services as a private company serving immigrants who have not collateralized their bonds and pose high-flight risks, versus government-subsidized programs serving low-risk criminal defendants. Unlike the latter, Libre by Nexus’s clients are free to work, live, and travel anywhere in the United States. With basic research, Mother Jones would have found that our fees are significantly lower than the $700 per month charged by similar service providers that are cited in a Deloitte case study, and as one can easily see on government websites. Mother Jones also failed to mention that the average length of time that a Libre by Nexus client was enrolled in our voluntary monitoring program over the last year was eight months.

We understand that while our voluntary monitoring program fees fall within the industry average, $14 a day is a lot of money for most families. That is why we have a generous payment forgiveness program that waives over $60,000 per month in fees and conduct quarterly reviews of our clients’ cases. Rather than exploiting one of our client’s situation to sell magazine copies, had Mother Jones simply brought her case to our attention, we would have gladly worked with her to ease her financial stress.

If Mother Jones had even a modicum of journalistic integrity, it would have clearly noted in its article the millions of dollars in fees that Libre by Nexus does not charge its clients when compared to similar programs. For example, Libre by Nexus has never engaged in what is a standard practice among bail bond companies to charge immigrants non-refundable annual premium fees of 20 percent. In such instances, even if an immigrant fully collateralized a $20,000 bond, the bail bond companies would require them to pay $4,000 a year while awaiting their court date. Moreover, while Mother Jones treated our pro-bono legal representation charity as a mere passing reference in its article, it saves our clients thousands of dollars and keeps families together.

While we work tirelessly to serve our clients, we ultimately have to operate within a fundamentally flawed immigration system. In a perfect world, detained immigrants would be returned to their families without bail. While that is not the reality that we live in, it is one that Libre by Nexus and the Nexus Services family of companies strives toward everyday. We have a full-time public policy advocacy team that fights for immigration reform, immigrant rights, and fixing our broken money bail, and criminal justice systems.

It is easy for Mother Jones to speak in platitudes from an ivory tower in San Francisco; it is much harder to be a passionate advocate for immigration reform in rural Virginia, which is what Libre by Nexus does everyday. We take on tough fights and champion the rights of immigrants in difficult political environments. Libre by Nexus is there for its clients, their families, and the diverse communities that we serve throughout the country. For Mother Jones to suggest otherwise is shameful and we will vigorously defend our company from false attacks.


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