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Eight Activists Arrested at Immigrant Prison in Lumpkin (UPDATE 1)

With additional reporting by Matthew Cardinale.
(APN) LUMKPIN, Georgia -- Approximately 100 people gathered today, Friday, November 19, 2010, at the square in Lumpkin, Georgia to make the 1.7 mile walk to the Stewart Detention Center (SDC) where 2,000 immigrants are held. 
SDC is privately owned and operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), a multi-million dollar for profit business. 
The demand of the demonstrators was to bring Pedro Guzman home and shut Stewart down.  Guzman has been housed at Stewart for one year without bond.  His wife, Emily, and his 4-year-old son are both US citizens.  Pedro came to the US with his mother when he was only 8 years old.
During the long march to the Detention Center, the names of 114 detainees who have died in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since 2003 were called out.  Two of these deaths happened at SDC. 
Conditions at Stewart as cited by Georgia Detention Watch include poor or no health care, no full- time doctor, deplorable food, lack of legal resources, and few bi-lingual staff.
After the protest group reached the gates of Stewart, Emily Guzman holding her small son gave an impassioned speech about the injustice of her husband's imprisonment.  
In an act of non-violent civil disobedience, seven activists crossed the line onto the prison property.  Atlanta Progressive News observed as each was immediately handcuffed by the sheriff, Larry Jones, and taken to the Lumpkin jail.  One additional person was arrested to make a total of eight. 
Those arrested include Pamela Alberda, Emily Guzman's mother; Christin and Bryan Babcock; Anna Fisher; Anton Flores of Georgia Detention Watch, one of the protest organizers; Mary Beth Gamba; Ellen McGill; and Jules Orkin.
Flores spoke with APN on Saturday, November 20, the morning after being released.
Flores said the 8 were arrested on criminal trespass.  "When we were arrested, there were eight of us, we were cuffed and taken in sheriff patrol vehicles to Stewart County sheriff's office; there they placed us holding cells."

"Stewart County doesn't have a jail.  They processed us and the magistrate court judge issued a 250 dollar bond per person and we were able to pay that.  We were released on bond pending prosecution," Flores said.

"It was about a 3.5 hour ordeal.  Because of it being such a rural community, the magistrate judge said Superior Court is only held twice a year, in March of 2011 is the next time, and that docket is already full," Flores said.
"It may take a year, it may take two years, we may even never go court.  They might just dismiss it," Flores said.

"The sheriff's department and judge were very cooperative.  They were not the target of our actions.  We spoke with them beforehand regarding how they would handle [the matter]," Flores said.

"Both the sheriff and judge were very surprised to hear of the length of time Pedro [Guzman] has been detained there, that he'd been here in the US since eight years old and is now married to a US citizen.  They actually thought the maximum amount of time someone can be held is 90 days.  It was eye-opening for them," Flores said.

"This is the fourth vigil.  This is the first time of our vigil to have civil disobedience," Flores said, adding he believes it to be only the second time civil disobedience has occurred in the state in regards to immigration issues.  The first had been the arrests of Joe Beasley, Markel Hutchins, Adelina Nichols, and Rich Pellegrino at the State Capitol last week, as previously covered by APN.
Also as previously reported by APN, SDC imprisons undocumented immigrants who are arrested in Georgia counties which implement the controversial 287(g) program, including Cobb, Hall, and Whitfield counties.  These counties transfer thousands of immigrants to SDC every year.

Comments (4)

Anyone 4 Discourse?
Said this on 11-20-2010 At 05:38 am

All of those things that George Orwell warned us about in "1984" have come to pass and then some.  We thought all of these crimes against humanity would be perpetrated by the state, and that's exactly what is happening.  But the state has cleverly co-opted the capitalists and made the commission of these crimes a for-profit venture.  While people are scurrying around like tiny ants, railing against that big bogeyman "socialism", we're being swallowed up by Dwight Eisenhour's "Military-Industrial Complex" which might better be re-christened the "Conservative-Capitalist Complex".  This same poisonous partnership has succeeded in turning good, honest, hard-working people against each other and has somehow persuaded us to believe that devouring each other is proper behavior for human beings.  But, SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!  And it's the perfect metaphor for how we're behaving toward each other.

Ben Howard
Said this on 11-20-2010 At 10:43 pm

 What Human Rights Do I Have to Fight For My Cause?

Posted on January 9, 2010, 2:01 am, by admin, under Gallery, Human Rights.


Human Rights

Fortunately, there are human rights that you do have, as a citizen of the United States of America, that are not going to let many of those obstacles that we face stand in the way of fighting your cause. The 1st Amendment gives you the rights that you need to make the progress that you need and deserve. The 1st Amendment touches upon the ways in which you are able to conduct yourself in a legal society, and still evoke fundamental change for your issues. …

1. One of the important 1st Amendment rights that are going to help you fight your cause is the Freedom of Assembly. The Freedom of Assembly will be essential in making sure that you are legally able to assemble with those that have the same level of care and concern for your cause. This will help to create the strong unit that you are going to need to tackle that issue. The 1st Amendment gives you this right so that you may come together and join forces to collectively fight for your cause. After all, there is power in numbers. You are given the right to use your public assembly to express how you feel about the issue at hand. The 1st Amendment allows you to join together in order to convey your message and defend what you believe in. …

2. The 1st Amendment also gives you the right to protest. Aside from the freedom to simply form these groups, you are also legally able to conduct protests. You are able to take your congregation to a public venue and fight for your cause. …



Said this on 11-23-2010 At 08:40 am

Thank you for publishing such a well written article about the event!  It was really amazing and powerful to have so many people stand up against the injustice of my husband's case!  Thank you for understanding why we organized and why everyone involved had to stand up against a powerful immigration system that is currently very broken and tearing familes apart.

Gloria Tatum
Said this on 11-25-2010 At 12:19 pm

Emily, thank you and your family for being so strong and standing up for what is fair and just.  Thank Matthew for giving us an outlet for progressive information which is usually ignored by the corporate media. 

An old saying, "Those with the gold makes the laws" certainly applies to all the unjust laws in the world today which hurts the common people and gives privileges to the elite.

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