Friday, June 30, 2017

SPLC Board Member Visits America's 'Huddled Masses' at Immigrant Detention Center

By Elden Rosenthal

Hidden away in the woods of southwest Georgia sits the euphemistically named Stewart Detention Center. The facility, owned and operated by the for-profit corporation CoreCivic, holds men that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is seeking to deport.

Located just outside the tiny rural community of Lumpkin, Stewart is surrounded by two tall fences topped with razor wire. Access is severely limited. No one is allowed a contact visit. Lawyers may not bring a laptop or even a phone into the facility. It is a prison, plain and simple.

Inside are 1,900 adult men. Some were picked up near our Southern border. Some were arrested in the towns where they had lived peacefully for years.

Earlier this month, I spent a week working as a volunteer lawyer at Stewart as part of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s new Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative. The initiative has a small permanent staff in Lumpkin living in a double-wide trailer, along with SPLC lawyers who travel back and forth from Atlanta, 140 miles away, and a rotating number of volunteer lawyers.

I learned some immigration law on the fly, interviewed detainees, and appeared at two hearings. Most days lasted 10 hours.

The work was intense. It was also deeply disturbing.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Southern Poverty Law Center 

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