To Thrivent Financial Executive Management and Board of Directors:
Thrivent members and employees understand that each of us is entitled to dignity, respect, and love, regardless of immigration status, whether we are facing persecution, environmental or economic devastation, or simply seeking a better life for our families.
Your commitment to generosity rooted in faith suggests you value human dignity, uphold the rights of the oppressed, and do not see the needs of others as threats to your own security. We question your commitment to this generosity when we see your investments in CoreCivic and GEO Group. These companies enable the horrific persecution, imprisonment, and even death of the most vulnerable among us: children, migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers.
As Lutherans, church leaders, Thrivent members, members of the larger Christian community, and members of the immigrant rights community, we call on Thrivent to fully divest from CoreCivic and GEO Group, and to donate the profits earned from Thrivent's investments in those two companies to organizations that represent and serve migrants. By refusing these easy profits and addressing the harm they cause in our community, you would show you truly value acting in faithful generosity.
CoreCivic and GEO Group account for fully 80 percent of the private prison industry in the United States, and each receives hundreds of millions of dollars from the Department of Homeland Security to operate migrant detention camps. Both companies face class-action lawsuits alleging that their treatment of prisoners violates federal laws, including the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and other prohibitions on slave labor.
Concentration camps are not normal, they are not acceptable, and they should never be a source of financial gain. Companies, cities, and other institutions recognize this and have cut ties and canceled contracts with CoreCivic and GEO Group. These institutions range from banks like Bank of America, Barclay's, JP Morgan Chase, SunTrust, and Wells Fargo; to universities like Johns Hopkins; to cities like Denver and Indianapolis; to America's largest pension fund, CalPERS.
Yet Thrivent, which touts itself as "one of the world's most ethical companies," sees these companies as just another source of income for their members’ portfolios. As of this letter's writing, Thrivent's investments in the two companies total approximately $4 million. This profit is no divine gift, no mark of faithfulness. It comes from the deliberate mistreatment of those seeking care and dignity.
We call on Thrivent to immediately divest, and to turn the profits it has made from U.S. concentration camps over to RAICES and the Minnesota Freedom Fund’s immigrant bail fund, working to free migrants from detention in the camps and here in Minnesota.