Detention of Asylum Seekers in Georgia
In August 2016 Human Rights First visited the Irwin County Detention Center and the Stewart Detention Center in southern Georgia. The Stewart Detention Center, operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), is the largest immigration detention center in the United States for adults, with capacity to hold approximately 2,100 people in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Irwin County Detention Center is operated by the LaSalle Corrections company.
Over the course of fiscal year 2015 more than 14,000 immigrants were detained at Stewart and Irwin combined. Many of them were seeking asylum or other forms of international protection. The number of asylum seekers detained in Georgia appears to have increased, even in recent months. An attorney at a local legal service organization stated, “Stewart is now, I would say, a detention center for asylum seekers.”
Human Rights First researchers met with 77 men and women detained at the two facilities, the majority of whom were seeking asylum, as well as a number of representatives from local legal and social service organizations.