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Immigrant Justice
March 26, 2021

Content warning: This article contains graphic descriptions of gynecological abuse.

It was a routine duty for staff at a remote immigrant prison in rural Georgia: taking the women held there into town for gynecological appointments.

The vans would leave the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Ocilla bound for a nearby doctor’s office or hospital where detention center guards would wait as women underwent procedures, including surgeries, which were approved by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Immigrant Justice
September 20, 2020

I came to the United States from Honduras when I was 18 years old. I have lived here more than 20 years. My time in this country has left me with little doubt that my personality and character have been shaped by American society and culture over the past two decades. My beautiful wife, son, siblings and father are all U.S. citizens.

Attention on Detention
May 13, 2020

Karime, a transgender woman who is being held in immigration detention, is forced to share a packed dorm room with 45 men who sleep in cots less than three feet apart.

The guards don’t wear masks or gloves, and if someone gets sick, they have to make a request to see a member of the medical staff, which can take up to four days for a response.

Adding insult to unhealthy practices, Karime must share two showers and two bathrooms with the men; some of them make unwanted sexual advances toward her and threaten to beat her up.

Immigrant Justice
April 29, 2020

When COVID-19 hit the U.S., Silvio Urbina Rojas began to wonder if he’d die in an immigrant prison. 

He slept in a bed that was only about three feet from another man’s. About 240 men were forced to breathe the same air in a confined space where the coronavirus could be inhaled, and they shared only six toilets, 12 sinks and 12 showers.

Attention on Detention
March 12, 2020

Shackled, cuffed and stuffed into the “black hole” of America’s immigration system in rural Georgia, far away from family and friends, Marco soon began to rely heavily on his faith. 

He was forced to share a room with 63 other men at Stewart Detention Center. He slept on a stiff bunk bed, and the guards kept the lights on all night.

It was hard for him to sleep under those conditions, so he prayed.  

January 17, 2020

In the tiny yard of an immigrant prison in the remote town of Lumpkin, Georgia, Mateo sat down, trying to enjoy his one hour of outdoor time.

But before he knew what was happening, more than 70 other men, mostly Cuban, also sat down in the yard. They were staging a peaceful protest to demand answers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about the status of their immigration cases.

December 20, 2019

As Robert speaks, the burdens he’s had to bear cause him to speak quickly. He only pauses to take a breath when he can no longer hide his tears.

“I’m a prisoner no matter where I go,” Robert, 40, said. “I’m trapped. I’m tortured in detention, and I’m tortured on the streets of Honduras. I just want to go somewhere without racism. It’s been really difficult.”

Attention on Detention
December 03, 2019

After nearly two years in immigrant detention facilities, longtime U.S. resident Joseph Thompson – who is suffering from a deadly medical condition – thought he was about to be set free when the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) issued a ruling in his favor.

But then, in a rarely used maneuver, U.S. Attorney General William Barr exercised his authority over the immigration court system to certify the case to himself – essentially giving him the power to not only reverse the BIA’s ruling in Thompson’s case but also to alter the course of perhaps thousands of other cases.

November 25, 2019

The protesters carried signs reading “Free asylum-seekers,” and “Richwood … your paychecks are covered in blood.”

They stood outside of Richwood Correctional Center near Monroe, Louisiana, where just a few weeks earlier, Cuban asylum-seeker Roylan Hernandez-Díaz, 43, became the second person to die in ICE custody since the new fiscal year began Oct. 1.   

November 15, 2019

Daniela Doerr’s life changed when she removed the blanket covering her stillborn conjoined twins at the hospital.

Thirteen years later, the image is still etched in her memory. Doerr, 31, also suffered two miscarriages in 2006. She points to the tragedies as the moment her life took a dramatic turn for the worse, sending her down a path that would ultimately lead to an immigrant prison.