Georgia prison for Carolinas’ immigrants not set for evacuation as Irma nears

Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Ga
Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Ga ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Georgia detention center that holds undocumented immigrants arrested in the Carolinas is not scheduled for evacuation due to Hurricane Irma, federal officials said Friday.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the Stewart Detention Center, in Lumpkin, was far enough inland to be safe for the time being. The center is located in far western Georgia, south of Columbus.

However, ICE has temporarily evacuated immigration detainees out of Florida and from the Folkston facility in south Georgia, officials said.

The Stewart facility is where many immigrants from the Carolinas are held for deportation, or while they wait for their cases to be decided by the immigration court.

Current projections suggest Hurricane Irma’s winds and rain will only brush the Lumpkin area, as the storm travels through central Georgia.

ICE was reportedly poised to launch a new series of immigration arrests next week, according to multiple media outlets, but that operation has been postponed.

“Due to the current weather situation in Florida and other potentially impacted areas, along with the ongoing recovery in Texas, ICE... has adjusted accordingly,” said a statement from ICE. “There is currently no coordinated nationwide operation planned at this time. The priority in the affected areas should remain focused on life-saving and life-sustaining activities.”

But ICE said it will be business as usual in areas not impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.