U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, is calling for more oversight over immigration enforcement, detention and legal proceedings, citing several reports about immigration enforcement in the region.
In a letter to several Democratic members of Congress this week, Lewis pointed out how the Trump administration’s policies have affected metro Atlanta. He wrote the region is “among the worst places in America to be undocumented.”
“If we fail to act, Georgia could become an unfortunate model for authorities to emulate across the country,” Lewis wrote.
The Congressman from Atlanta cited the surge of immigration arrests of people with no criminal record in ICE’s Atlanta region, which includes Georgia and the Carolinas.
Lewis also wrote Congress must “safeguard living and working conditions for detained immigrants,” citing reports about conditions in immigration detention centers in Georgia, including an investigation by WABE and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.
WABE and Reveal’s reporting found that Stewart Detention Center in South Georgia has struggled with staffing shortages and an influx of drugs.
“Our nation’s detention system should comply with universal high standards, and there should be no disparity or question in respecting the human dignity and worth of any person,” Lewis wrote.
Lewis also said Congress must review and reform immigration court protocols — saying Atlanta’s immigration court has the lowest asylum rate in the country — in fiscal year 2016, it was 2 percent.