Monitoring Human Rights Abuses in detention centers where people who are immigrants and who lack "the right papers" are detained. Also in Solidarity with Human Rights for People who have to Flee/Migrate
Monday, February 21, 2011
Human rights activists and immigrants rally against big new New Jersey lockup
"Education yes, detention no!"
That was the passionate chant echoed during a spirited rally Thursday in front of the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark, where more than 100 people protested plans to build a massive immigration detention center in their county.
Human rights activists and immigrants - several dressed in prison-style orange jumpsuits to show solidarity with immigrant detainees - marched 3 miles from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in downtown Newark to the rally site.
They shouted "No human being is illegal," in both English and Spanish, to express opposition to the addition of 2,700 new detention beds to what already is an inhumane and abusive detention system.
There are 400,000 immigrant detainees nationwide deprived of freedom, according to the New York University Immigrant Rights Clinic at NYU Law School.
"They are jailed, often indefinitely, not for having committed any criminal act but for simple civil immigration violations," said John Skrodinsky of the Wind of the Spirit Immigration Resource Center, in Morristown, N.J., a rally organizer. "More jails mean more detainees, and that's not fair."
Immigration and Customs Enforcement uses five private and county facilities to detain undocumented immigrants in New Jersey. The horror stories are well-documented.
The proposed center, which could soon be approved by the county freeholders, would be privately managed by Community Education Centers.
Essex County officials see the new center as a source of income for hard-pressed Newark. Last year, the county housed an average of 465 immigrant detainees a day and garnered nearly $22 million in revenue - making money on a human tragedy.
The Obama administration views it as proof of its commitment to overhaul the shameful way the government detains immigrants.
The administration says the new center would provide plenty of sunshine, better medical care, amenities and federal oversight.
A gilded cage, but a cage still.