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March 3 in Kearny, NJ: Advocates to President Obama: End Inhumane Immigrant Detention System!

March 2, 2010

Jersey Journal staff photo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  March 2, 2010

Contact:

  • Amy Gottlieb, (New Jersey) 917-494-6415
  • Alina Das, (New York) 347-693-6485

NJ/NY ADVOCATES TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: END INHUMANE IMMIGRANT DETENTION SYSTEM!

WHAT: Prayer Vigil at Hudson County Correctional Center (N. Hackensack between Scout Ave. and Lincoln Highway or Rt. 1/9)

WHY:        As part of a growing national movement urging the Obama administration to address our broken immigration system, NJ/NY immigrant rights advocates with the Detention Watch Network (DWN)* launched the “Dignity, Not Detention: Preserving Human Rights And Restoring Justice” campaign last week which calls for an end to detention expansion nationally.

The vigil protests the closure of the Varick Federal Detention Facility in New York on February 26th.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement transferred 300 immigration detainees from that facility to NJ county jails. Before the transfer, New Jersey county jails already housed over 1,000 immigration detainees and are responsible for several deaths because of the lack of appropriate health care services.  Vigil participants call on President Obama to order ICE to release eligible people detained at Varick back to their families, rather than moving them at Hudson Correctional Facility.

Each year, more than 300,000 immigrants are funneled through a secretive web of over 350 immigrant detention centers without any real assessment of whether they actually present any danger or need to be detained at all.  On March 3rd immigrants and advocates will stand in vigil outside the Hudson County Jail in support of those detained in New Jersey and beyond, and will ask for ICE to exercise its discretion to release detainees to their families and communities.

WHEN:           Wednesday, March 3rd 2010, 6:30pm

WHO:             NJ Families with loved ones caught in the immigration detention gulag

NJ Advocates for Immigrant Detainees member organizations including American Friends Service Committee, Casa Esperanza, IRATE/First Friends, Middlesex County Coalition for Immigrant Rights, and Pax Christi-NJ.  Others include NY New Sanctuary Coalition and Youth Ministries for Peace & Justice

Religious leaders, detention visitors and legal advocates fighting for release of detainees from Varick Street Detention Center

BACKGROUND:  Over eighty percent of detained immigrants go through the immigration system with no legal

right to representation or even basic information on their rights..  Many are denied their fair day in court owing to mandatory and arbitrary detention laws and policies that severely limit judicial discretion.  While detained, immigrants face horrific conditions of confinement, including mistreatment by guards, solitary confinement, the denial of medical attention and limited or no access to their families, lawyers and the outside world.  In many cases, these conditions have proven fatal: since 2003, a reported 107 people have died in immigration custody.  MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE DIGNITY NOT DETENTION CAMPAIGN: www.dignitynotdetention.org

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*The Detention Watch Network is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to educate the public and policy makers about the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system.

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