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5/25: Advocates Call for Closure of Georgia Immigration Detention Centers Following Two Immigrant Deaths
Released 12 June 2017  By Detention Watch Network (DWN)

Advocates Call for Closure of Georgia Immigration Detention Centers Following Two Immigrant Deaths Last Week

Detention Watch Network (DWN)
Thursday, May 25, 2017

Atlanta, Georgia – Immigrant rights and human rights organizations,
Georgia Detention Watch, the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights,
Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Project South and the Detention
Watch Network demand the mayor of Atlanta, the County Commissioners of
Stewart County, and the County Commissioners of Irwin County immediately
close the Atlanta City Detention Center (ACDC), the Stewart Detention
Center, and the Irwin County Detention Center, following the deaths of
Atul Kumar Babubhai Patel and Jean Carlos Jimenez-Joseph at ACDC and
Stewart. Groups also demand an end to all contracts between the City of
Atlanta, Stewart County, and Irwin County with Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE).

On Monday, May 15th Jimenez-Joseph, 27, was found unresponsive after
spending 19 days in solitary confinement at the Stewart Detention
Center. ICE is reporting the death as a suicide. Following requests
from the mother of Jimenez-Joseph, members of El Refugio, an
organization that provides hospitality to loved ones visiting those
detained at Stewart, attempted to visit Jean Carlos, but were turned
away citing the conditions of his solitary confinement. Just one day
later, on Tuesday, May 16, Patel, 58, died in ICE custody at Grady
Memorial Hospital after his detention at the Atlanta City Detention
Center. ICE has reported that the preliminary cause of death is
complications from congestive heart failure. Additionally, on May 12,
2017 US District Judge Leslie Abrams issued an order allowing ICE to
force-feed Vitaly Novikov, 61, who ICE reports has been on hunger

These tragic events come on the heels of a recent report, Imprisoned
Justice: Inside Two Georgia Immigration Detention Centers, released by
Project South and the Penn State Law Center for Immigrants’ Rights
Clinic, that investigates the deplorable conditions at the Stewart
Detention Center and Irwin County Detention Center. The findings of the
report and recent investigations into immigration deaths provide
overwhelming evidence that these facilities are not equipped to handle
the vast mental and physical needs of those they incarcerate, and should
therefore be shut down immediately to avoid further harm to immigrant
communities across the country.

“The deaths of Jean Carlos Jimenez-Joseph and Atul Kumar Babubhai Patel
are an unfortunate illustration of the poor medical treatment, misuse of
isolation, deplorable health conditions and the unnecessary detention of
persons looking for a place of refuge” said Adelina Nicholls, executive
director of GLAHR.

“As our year-long documentation demonstrated, Georgia immigration
detention centers are rife with human rights abuses including the
rampant use of solitary confinement, minimal access to mental health
care, and inedible food. These facilities must be shut down before we
see even more horrific tragedies unfold,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, Legal
& Advocacy Director with Project South.

“ICE did not exist until March 2003. 14 years later, US taxpayers waste
billions of dollars each year on failed systems of detention and
deportation that violate the basic human rights of people who come to
this country to build a better future. These facilities must close and
ICE should be dismantled,” said Kevin Caron, Member of the Georgia
Detention Watch Steering Committee.

"The tragic case of Jean Carlos Jimenez-Joseph provides a stark
representation of the larger mental health issues, medical issues and
solitary confinement at detention centers,” said Lovette Thompson of
Black Alliance for Just Immigration. “No one should be subjected to
discrimination and deplorable conditions that violate their fundamental
human rights."

“This fiscal year alone, there have been eight deaths in ICE custody --
a shameful record further exposing ICE’s inability to guarantee the
safety and health of people in their custody,” said Danny Cendejas,
DWN’s organizing director. “This is a matter of life or death --
facilities where people have died in detention need to be shut down as a
first step towards ending the inhumane detention system in its


Georgia Detention Watch (GDW) is a coalition of organizations and
individuals that advocate, alongside immigrants, to end the inhumane and
unjust detention and law enforcement policies and practices directed
against immigrant communities in our state. Our coalition includes
activists, community organizers, lawyers, and persons of faith.

Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations
and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the
United States’ immigration detention and deportation system and advocate
for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons.
Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together
advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and
national level to end immigration detention. Visit Follow @DetentionWatch.

The Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) educates,
organizes, and empowers Latinos in Georgia to defend and advance their
civil and human rights. Established in 2001, GLAHR is a community-based
organization that develops statewide grassroots leadership.

Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) believes that a thriving
multiracial democracy requires racial, social and economic justice for
all. African Americans and black immigrants are stronger together and we
can win by becoming leaders in the fight against structural racism and
systemic discrimination. BAJI was formed to bring Black voices together
to advocate for equality and justice in our laws and our communities.

Project South is a Southern-based leadership development organization
that creates spaces for movement building. We have been working with
communities pushed forward by the struggle for over 30 years– to
strengthen leadership and to provide popular political and economic
education for personal and social transformation.

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