“The history of immigration detention in New Jersey includes a myriad of cases of abuse, including a number of shocking deaths, a culture of secrecy and lack of transparency. What is driving local governments and corporations to embrace the expansion of immigration detention is money. The political situation in Essex County does not lend itself to oversight. CEC has been skirting both pay to pay regulation and campaign donation disclosure requirements through a shell game where EHCA holds the contract but CEC runs the facilities and nets the lion’s share of the profits.” – Essex County Immigration Detention Expansion, an Invitation for Abuse by the New Jersey Advocates For Immigrant Detainees and Enlace
The 19-page Invitation to Abuse Report lays bare in sickening detail the underbelly of immigration detention in New Jersey. Using links and charts it not only provides shocking support for claims of lobbying, cronyism, and malfeasance, but also becomes a clarion call for reform.
The report addresses:
On December 14 the Essex County Freeholders voted unanimously to approve a subcontract with Education & Health Centers of America (EHCA) to house immigrant detainees despite being presented with a petition that had over 3000 signatures on-line and 1,000 in hard copy. The report documents why this vote must be rescinded, New Jersey’s immigration detention business must be reformed, and laws need to be changed.
This “smoking gun” report, with which Joe DiVicenzo and an EHCA spokesperson disagree, forms the basis for a continued call to arms. Kathy O’Leary (Pax Christi NJ) and Karina Wilkinson (Middlesex County Coalition for Immigrant Rights) have led this NJ effort. They are now in the midst of getting the report into the hands of state and local legislators, advocating for an Inmate Oversight Committee and planning future actions. Their attitude, against all odds but with a lot of work, has always been: “No retreat, no surrender.” For more information go to An Invitation to Abuse Report and Pax Christi NJ facebook.