Some shocking video footage was uploaded to YouTube Tuesday that claims it shows a high ranking official with the GEO Group testifying that he indeed threatened to deport his daughter-in-law. In the video, Thomas M. Wierdsma, a Senior Vice President for Project Development at GEO confirms he said he would use his position of power to deport his son’s Hungarian wife.
Wierdsma threatened to deport Beatrix Szeremi after she went to the police to report a long history of domestic abuse. Wierdsma’s son, Charles Wierdsma was accused of multiple drunken beatings, almost drowning Szeremi in a bathtub, and an attempted suffocation with a pillow. According to court documents there were 20 incidences in all during the short marriage.
GEO Group is the country’s second largest private prison company. GEO also manages 9 immigration detention centers in the U.S. plus other immigration facilities abroad, including the Migrant Operations Center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Wierdsma Sr. was upset Szeremi wouldn’t leave a property he says he owns.
The Hungarian-born Szeremi, who came to the United States six years ago and got permanent legal residency, or a green card, received an email from Thomas Wierdsma, a senior vice president with the GEO Group, that sent chills down her spine. GEO is one of the largest private prison companies in the world – with $1.6 billion in revenues and 20,000 employees across 115 facilities – and the company operates several immigration detention facilities for the federal government, including one in Aurora.
“I understand that you currently have no plans to move out of our home,” the elder Wierdsma wrote on June 21, 2011. “I will be copying the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement with this and other information. As you know, I funded the legal work and processing fees for you to become a citizen but am now disappointed in your actions which now require legal proceedings.”
In July 2012, a Boulder County jury awarded Szeremi $1.2 million after a weeklong civil trial. The jurors found that both men had exhibited “outrageous conduct.”
Seth Freed Wessler, Colorlines.com’s investigative reporter, wrote about the GEO group in September. He noted “GEO Group’s prisons and immigrant detention centers have a track record of abuse, deaths, sexual violence and medical neglect of inmates and detainees.”
According to the company’s website The GEO Group, Inc. is also the world’s leading provider of correctional detention, and residential treatment services with 108 facilities, approximately 75,000 beds, and 20,000 employees around the globe.