***PRESS CONFERENCE/VIGIL:***

***Georgia Detention Watch to Hold Vigil Calling for Shutting Down of Stewart ***

***Friday, 10 am, Lumpkin Town Square***

Community Leaders Hold Vigil and Launch New Campaign to “Expose and Close” Widespread Abuse at Stewart and Irwin Detention Centers

New Report Calls Stewart and Irwin two of the 10 Worst Detention Centers in the Country and Demands President Obama Restore Basic Dignity

Atlanta, Georgia–The immigration detention system in the United States has grown drastically over the last 15 years and the appalling conditions in the detention centers that house immigrants have reached a tipping point.

President Obama made promises to reform this inhumane system in 2009, but the reality on the ground has not changed. Now, conditions at the jails and prisons that house immigrants have gotten so bad, the only option is to begin shutting them down.

On Friday, November 16th, as part of a nationwide campaign launch, community leaders and advocates will hold their sixth vigil at the Stewart Detention Center and release a report designating it and the Irwin County Detention Center as two of the ten worst in the country. Leaders will call on President Obama to close the prison-like facilities in Stewart and Irwin counties, and issue a list of reforms to ensure the safety, dignity, and well-being of immigrants held in detention.

The report will follow the May 2012 ACLU of Georgia report “Prisoners of Profit: Immigrants and Detention in Georgia” which detailed abuses at the two facilities and called for their closure.

This action is part of a series of reports and coordinated effort to highlight ten detention centers across the nation that exemplify the appalling conditions of immigrant detention, including Etowah County Detention Center (AL), Pinal County Jail (AZ), Houston Processing Center (TX), Polk County Detention Facility (TX), Stewart Detention Center (GA), Irwin County Jail (GA), Hudson County Jail (NJ), Theo Lacy Detention Center (CA), Tri-County Detention Center (IL), and Baker County Jail (FL).

WHAT:Vigil and march to “Expose and Close” Stewart and Irwin Detention Centers

WHEN:Friday, November 16, 2012 at 10 a.m.

WHO:Anton Flores-Maisonet,Alterna

Azadeh Shahshahani, ACLU of Georgia

Chad Hyatt, musician and pastor at Mercy Community Church (Atlanta)

Fr. Ishmael Morenofrom Honduras

Jason Chin, musician

Sister JoAnn Persch, Sisters of Mercy (Chicago)

Laria Marie Vides, wife of detainee

Mary Strauss, wife of detainee

Pedro Guzman, formerly detained at Stewart Detention Center

The States,musical group

Terence Courtney,Black Alliance for Just Immigration

This vigil will be organized by Georgia Detention Watch in collaboration with SOA Watch, ACLU of Georgia, Alterna, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Footprints for Peace, Grassroots Leadership, International Action Center of Atlanta, National Lawyer Guild Georgia Chapter, Nipponzan Myohoji Atlanta Dojo and the Southern Anti-Racist Network,.

WHERE:The vigil begins at the Lumpkin, GA town square located at the intersection of Main Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. The march will end two miles away at the Stewart Detention Center on CCA Road, also in Lumpkin.

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