Report back from @AFSC_org’s Rally & Protest Against Proposed NJ Detention Center
On February 17th 2011, AFSC Immigrant Rights Program and NJ community groups held a rally at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in Newark, NJ and a three and half mile walk to the Essex County Correctional Facility, in opposition to the addition of 2,700 new immigration detention beds to the already crowded and inhumane immigration detention system. The proposed facility in Essex County is one of at least five new detention centers that ICE is planning to build throughout the country.
Approximately 120 immigrant leaders and advocates participated in the rally; more than half completed the walk to the county jail. Speakers at the rally spoke about their experience with immigration detention and deportation, concerns about police collaboration with immigration agencies, and the need for release of immigrant detainees rather than increased detention.
The event attracted an impressive media presence (listed below) with widespread coverage of the concerns raised at the rally. AFSC staff and community leaders stressed the need for the government to invest in education and social services, not detention. AFSC staff and community allies will continue to challenge the increase in detention beds, will monitor the status of the Essex County proposal and raise awareness of the devastating effects of continuous and massive detention and deportation on families and communities.