Shutting Down Irwin and Bristol ICE Detention Camps is a Victory By and For Our Movement

Anabel Mendoza Press Releases

We will continue fighting to permanently close all ICE and CBP camps!

For Immediate Release
Contact: José Alonso Muñoz | jose@unitedwedream.org | 202.810.0746

Washington, D.C. – Following years of organizing by immigrant communities and allies, the Biden administration announced today that it will end contracts with two immigration detention facilities, set up a system-wide process to review other contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and end a 287(g) contract in Bristol County, Massachusetts. The two facilities where ICE will cut contracts are the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia, and the Bristol County Detention Center in North Dartmouth, Mass.

Cynthia Garcia, National Campaigns Manager for Community Protection of United We Dream, said:

“The Biden administration’s announcement today is a long overdue start to shutting down all detention camps and remains a direct result of the public pressure and years of powerful organizing by our communities who made this victory possible. While the Irwin and Bristol County facilities have made headlines, particularly over the past year, for their abuses against immigrants —including the forced sterilizations of women at Irwin— these horrors are not unique to these two detention centers. Rather, the Irwin and Bristol facilities are representations of the culture of abuse that characterizes all of ICE and CBP and that our communities and our partners at Detention Watch Network, Somos Georgia, the Shutdown ICE in GA Coalition, and other organizations have been fighting for years to call attention to. The horrors inflicted against immigrants will not end until ICE and CBP are defunded.  

Our communities continue to witness the steady increase of our family members and loved ones being detained under the Biden administration, with the population in ICE detention camps growing from over 15,000 people when President Biden first took office to now over 20,000. Shutting down Irwin and Bristol County, only to transfer those held there into another, equally dangerous and punitive ICE facility, while simultaneously detaining more immigrants, is counter-productive to truly protecting our communities. The Biden administration must immediately release all immigrants from detention and permanently shut down all ICE and CBP facilities.”

Cristian Padilla Romero, son of Tania, an immigrant detained at Irwin from August 2019-November 2019

“My mom Tania is a stage 4 cancer survivor who was detained in ICE custody at Irwin Detention Center. While detained at Irwin, her health declined because of medical neglect, which included missing oncology treatment, and developing a vitamin B-12 deficiency. During the months my mom spent at Irwin, she had family ready to welcome her home. Thankfully, because of continued community organizing, and lifting up the harmful conditions of the Irwin Detention Center, we were able to get my mom released. Given that Irwin Detention Center has inflicted so much pain and harm on people like my mom its closure is a huge victory, but it is only the beginning. All detention centers must be permanently closed and all immigrants released so that families like mine can be together.”

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United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful network made up of over 400,000 members and 48 affiliate organizations across 26 states. UWD’s vision is to build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic movement of young people who organize and advocate at the local and national levels for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color in the United States.