Much like life, politics is never as simple as the politicians tell us they are. Immigration is just one of those issues. One side stands by the rule of law—if you’re here illegally, you’re a criminal. The other side sees the individual just trying to survive day-to-day for that better life. Nicholas Manting Brewer’s short film, Lumpkin, GA, takes on the issue of immigration as it relates to a small rural town in Georgia.
As the title suggests, that small rural town is called Lumpkin, and the reason we (or anyone for that matter) is concerned with Lumpkin, GA, is that it holds one of the East Coast’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention center. Stewart Detention Center for many undocumented individuals is the last stop before deportation. Also, making this place unique is that Stewart Detention Center is owned and operated by the privately funded company CoreCivic.
What Brewer does in Lumpkin, GA, is go through the myriad of issues surrounding the city and the center, like a checklist. He starts with a small group of concerned citizens willing to provide homes for families visiting their loved ones in custody. Then there’s a lawyer explaining the inequity of rights for the undocumented. And, of course, he interviews a young man caught driving without a license and facing deportation.
“…that small rural town…holds one of the East Coast’s U.S. [ICE]’s detention center.”
From an economic standpoint, the detention center was supposed to bring jobs and business to Lumpkin, but that changed quickly. One citizen complains about how those in the center have a better life than she does as she struggles to feed her family.
Lastly, we hear from a member of the city government explaining just how much money they get from CoreCivic in tax revenue and how the city may not even exist without that money and the improvements they made to the city’s infrastructure.
Does Lumpkin, GA, have something to say about the immigration issue? Yes, it does. I do suspect that Brewer and crew were expecting to tell a specific story from a particular point of view. You can tell based on some of the questions their subjects asked them. But what Brewer ultimately does is present all the facts of the town and asks you to decide for yourself, because it’s not all black and white, nor right or wrong. I think what we can all conclude after seeing Lumpkin, GA, is that no matter what side you fall on, it’s all unfair to everyone involved.
"…it’s all unfair to everyone involved."