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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.

July 17, 2019

When Samuel called his family from the immigrant prison nearly six hours away from his home in South Carolina, his 8-year-old son was angry.

“Papa, are you going to come home?” Angel asked his father, who was calling from Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia. “I want to be with you, in the center.”

Samuel told his son he would return home soon. But he didn’t know if he could keep his promise.

“I was always afraid I would be deported,” he said in Spanish during a recent interview. “I never knew if I was staying or being deported back to Honduras.”    

June 04, 2019

As Rogelio slept in his cold bunk bed at an immigrant prison in Georgia, a fellow detainee crawled under the covers in a bed next to him and exposed himself.

Terrorized, Rogelio lay still.      

Fearing the man would attack him, Rogelio quietly slipped a piece of paper to a prison guard with the words “urgent, please help” written on it in Spanish.    

The guard ignored him completely, Rogelio said. But the next night, it happened again.

April 19, 2019

On a breezy day in Manchester, New Hampshire, Mateo and his wife, Lisa, decided to run an errand.

As the couple rode down an interstate highway on July 31, 2017, they came upon a police vehicle on the shoulder with its lights flashing.

Under New Hampshire traffic laws, drivers must slow to a safe speed and “give wide berth” to stationary emergency vehicles with flashing lights.

But Mateo, 36, did not know this.

April 16, 2019

On the stretch of highway careening south from Columbus to Lumpkin, patches of Georgia red clay lie like open sores on the road’s shoulder. The sun burns bright orange, through air that is hazy with pollen and smoke from controlled forest fires.

The land here was once valuable. It was coveted. Nearly 200 years ago, white men named this county Stewart, after a revolutionary war militia general. White men massacred the men, women and children of the Creek Confederacy over this land.