Full Frontal with Samantha Bee is donating a six-bedroom house to El Refugio, an organization that works with detained immigrants and their families, as part of its I.C.E.-focused, ice skating holiday spectacular “Christmas on I.C.E.”
El Refugio provides visitation to immigrants at Stewart Detention Center in the remote town of Lumpkin, Georgia, as well as free lodging and meals to friends and family members visiting their loved ones. The show’s donation of a house will enable El Refugio to provide hospitality to even more families separated by I.C.E.
“We are overwhelmed with humility and gratitude,” said JoAnn Weiss, board chair. “Thanks to the radical kindness and awesome generosity of Samantha Bee and the production team at Full Frontal, we will be able to do much more to alleviate the stress and expense families separated by I.C.E. experience when they visit their loved ones at Stewart.”
“When President Stacey Abrams closes this cruel detention center I would gladly move into the house myself, it’s beautiful. #christmaswishes,” said Samantha Bee.
Stewart Detention Center houses up to 1,800 immigrants in a facility managed by CoreCivic, one of two giant private prison operators in the United States.
For eight years, El Refugio has operated out of a tiny rental house, offering bunk beds to families needing lodging in Lumpkin, which has no hotel, and few lodging options nearby. When the three-bedroom house is full, guests sleep on futons and air mattresses, share the house’s lone bathroom and eat in shifts at the small dining room table.
The new house has 3,100 square feet, 20 beds, a renovated kitchen with new appliances, two bathrooms, and a custom dining room table that seats 20 people. Volunteers are especially excited about a new washer and dryer, as they will no longer need to take bedding and towels to their homes in Atlanta for laundering. The new house is in the center of the town.
In addition to providing housing for detained immigrants' families, the new house will also welcome volunteer lawyers and interpreters from the Southern Poverty Law Center's Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative, which provides free legal representation to immigrants held at Stewart and four other detention centers in Georgia and Louisiana.
More on El Refugio’s work and the donated house will be revealed in “Christmas on I.C.E.,” which airs this Wednesday, December 19 at 10:30pm ET/PT on TBS.