If you have someone you love detained inside Stewart Detention Center, El Refugio (“The Refuge”) is here for you.
El Refugio is a hospitality house located at 655 Main Street in Lumpkin, GA – right outside the gates of Stewart Detention Center. Its purpose is to serve the family and friends of men detained and, thus, separated from their loved ones.
During the weekends we offer:
- Free meals and lodging
- Friendship and comfort
- Visits with detained men
Volunteers open the hospitality house between 10:00 a.m. on Saturday through 12:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Volunteers not only support families by offering hospitality on the weekends, but also by:
- - Conducting outreach activities to increase awareness of immigration detention
- - Advocating for justice for immigrants
- - Facilitating humanitarian visits with immigrants detained at Stewart Detention Center whose families or friends cannot visit
Meet El Refugio’s Executive Director
After 5 years walking alongside families and detained immigrants at Stewart Detention Center, El Refugio Ministry appointed Amilcar Valencia as their first Executive Director in June 2015.
Amilcar (pictured here) is originally from La Libertad, El Salvador. Since his arrival to the US, Amilcar has been involved in the immigrant rights movement in the state of Georgia. Amilcar has the experience of accompanying people affected by immigration detention since 2010 as one of the founding coordinators of El Refugio’s hospitality house. Amilcar is a member of the advisory board of Alterna Community since 2011, and a steering committee member of Georgia Detention Watch since 2010. Amilcar has the experience of working for non-profit organizations both in El Salvador and in the US. He previously worked for the Georgia Latino Alliance for Humans Rights (GLAHR) as a community organizer and hotline intake manager. Amilcar graduated from the University of Central America, UCA, El Salvador.
El Refugio partners with several other organizations to fulfill our ministry; learn more about or get involved with immigration detention by visiting their sites:
- - ACLU of Georgia: www.acluga.org
- - Alterna: www.alternacommunity.com
- - Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC): www.endisolation.org
- - GA Detention Watch: www.georgiadetentionwatch.com
- - Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR): glahr.org
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (lirs.org) and Lutheran Services of GA’s Volunteer, Congregation and Community Engagement program coordinates monthly visits to El Refugio and detainees at Stewart Detention Center.
Café Campesino (www.cafecampesino.com) provides fair trade coffee beans for El Refugio to offer guests at the house.
Partners from Koinonia Farm (www.koinoniapartners.org) offer hospitality for family members needing a place to stay overnight during the week. Please call (229) 924-0391 and ask for hospitality.
Our work is made possible, in part, by grants generously offered from:
- - The Catholic Foundation of North Georgia; learn more at www.cfnga.org
- - Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement’s Direct Support Fund; learn more at www.endisolation.org.