Activist seek closure of immigration detention center in South Georgia

Immigrant rights activists are preparing to return to South Georgia on Nov. 22 for an annual vigil in favor of shutting down a sprawling federal immigration detention center there.

For years the activists have complained about the remote location of the privately-run Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, a small town more than 100 miles south of Atlanta. That isolated location, they said, makes it difficult for detainees to stay in touch with their families and lawyers.

“In the name of countless families denied contact visits and torn apart by an evil system of record-breaking detention and deportation, shut down Stewart!” Anton Flores-Maisonet, one of Stewart’s most ardent foes, said in an email.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released statement Thursday, saying it “takes the care and custody of our detainees very seriously.” ICE said it inspects the center to ensure it follows its standards and that detainees there are kept in a “safe, secure and humane” environment. An independent contractor inspected the center in May and found it was complying with the agency’s standards, ICE said.

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