A Video Series by New Sanctuary Movement of Atlanta

The United States government has created a sprawling system of over 200 jails across the country run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain immigrants. ICE contracts with both local governments and private prison companies, namely the GEO Group, Inc., CoreCivic and LaSalle Corrections, to operate the majority of its vast network of facilities. As the size of detention has grown, so have the reports of abuses and neglect. Yet, most Americans have no idea what these immigration prisons are like or why people are there.

The New Sanctuary Movement of Atlanta, an interfaith, multicultural immigrant rights organization, has put together this video series to reveal to all of us the reality of life inside one of the largest detention centers, located in Stewart, Georgia. Using first person testimonies from published reports on ICE detention, these short videos present startling and detailed descriptions of the physical settings and daily routines, as well as access to legal and medical services. The series concludes with a call to action with helpful tips of what individuals and congregations can do to help individuals and advocate for change.

Introduction video:


Full series on Vimeo

Here is an annotated index of the video series to help you plan your program/event:

Title Description
Introduction (4 minutes) Introduces the film series made witht he use of real testimony from people who were detained at Stewart.
Law Library (7 minutes) Personal stories: 2 Salvadorans extorted by gangs, 1 deported to death. Topics covered: law library, attorney visits, access to attorneys, the court process and forms of release.
Cafeteria (8:24 minutes) Personal stories: a Mexican farmer and a DACA recipient who was detained for driving on a suspended license. Topics covered: meal schedule, rancid food, bad food options, bad water, lack of special foods, commissary & commissary accounts, protests, Special Operations Response Team (SORT) and hunger strikes.
Admissions (9 minutes) Personal stories: Pregnant woman from Mexico who sought asylum, Mexican fleeing organized crime who tried to seek asylum. Topics covered: admissions process, classification and uniforms, detainee handbook, rules by guards, bedding, clothing & personal items, laundry, guards’ attitudes, inmate requests & grievances, visitation, fear of COVID-19.
Work Station (9 minutes) Personal stories: Woman detained from ICE raid on her home; woman detained at airport; an African couple who travel via South America to U.S. border and seek asylum. Topics covered: work stations & conditions, lack of PPE, earnings, commissary, cost of phone calls.
Cell (9 minutes) Personal stories: South African torture survivor & asylum seeker; Nigerian accountant attacked for being gay. Topics covered: toilets, cell conditions, recreation times, lock downs, laundry, segregation (solitary confinement).
Medical Center (9 minutes) Man from China detained 2 years for lack of language, South African forced to sign a document that put him in detention & deportation proceedings. Topics covered: individual medical cases, shredded medical requests, medical reports, use of solitary confinement, SORT, COVID-19, hysterectomies at Irwin; lack of medical staff, shackles, medical appointments, prescriptions, mental health.
Conclusion– what you can do  (5:30 minutes) Call to action–advocate, donate goods, write people in detention, visit, sponsor, partners.


U.S. Immigration Detention Overview

Update on Stewart Detention & Recommendations by The New Sanctuary Movement of Atlanta

Opportunities to Educate and Act: Immigratio Detention



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