Tag Archive: ICE

“Carimer is Here to Stay”

promoted by Rosi Carimer Andujar left her hearing at the Peter Rodino Federal Building after being released by ICE today to cheers of “the people, united will never be defeated” and “Carimer is here to stay!” Addressing the crowd, she thanked…
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Will The Essex County Freeholders trade the liberty & well being of 1200 people for $50 mill?

promoted by Rosi

The Essex County Freeholders have placed a resolution on the agenda for the 9/7 meeting to approve a new contract with ICE that would increase the number of immigration detainees at the Essex County Jail and Delaney Hall to 1200.  

According to the Essex County Executive, Joe DiVincenzo, this contract is a “home run” because it would generate $50 million/year in revenue for the county.  However there has been no discussion of the human misery that will be inflicted in order to realize this financial benefit.  

A Dream Deferred

After a Senate vote on the Dream Act, mainly along party lines, we found once again the dream deferred for immigrants – in this case young people who arrived here with their parents and are willing to go to college or join the armed services to gain citizenship. We continue to need a sane policy that provides a proper path to citizenship and border protection. In spite of President Obama’s increased efforts at border enforcement, there has been no movement from Republicans on a path to citizenship. From the Pilgrims onward, America has been nourished by those who came to our land. Today many citizens just demonize them.

In the meantime in NJ immigrants contribute mightily to our state. However, their incarceration is carried out without the rights normally extended to others, and some are mistakenly detained and deported. Friends, family, lawyers and clergy have difficulty visiting them. Their food and medical care is subpar. This results in human rights abuses and inhumane treatment.

Last week it was announced that Essex County is the apparent winner of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) competition to build a new 2,700 person immigrant jail. There were so many problems with treatment of inmates in the New York City ICE Varick Center that they closed the facility. Many of the detainees were transferred to NJ. Soon there will be new cells for even more immigrants from NJ and elsewhere at a remote Newark location adjoining the Essex County Detention Center.

Essex County will not see all of this money either as a private, for-profit company, namely Community Education Centers, or CEC, is said to be involved in the planned expansion. Reform Jersey Now board member and Christie confidant Bill Palatucci is a Senior VP of CEC. This below-the- radar prison company has long held lucrative contracts and a cosy relationship with the state Department of Corrections. These are contracts which could just as easily be held by a broader group of organizations including the non-profit NJAC. The result of DOC actions has been reduced costs for its operations, but little evidence of benefit for the inmates. The same might be expected with a CEC-Essex County deal.  

As IRATE-First Friends of Elizabeth says, “Immigrant detention is morally wrong, legally suspect and wasteful of taxpayer funds.” On this Christmas Day let’s include the dreams of immigrants in our thoughts.

Calling for change in the immigration detention system in NJ and nationwide

Change.org blogger Lauren Markham, in her post Immigration Detention Designed to Break the Will of Detainees, quotes our report on visiting immigrant detainees in NJ jails.

As stated in the well-known report “Locked Up But Not Forgotten”: “In effect, immigration detention is punishment – not just for the immigrants in detention, but for their families and communities as well.”

She has an action alert calliing on Napolitano to allow contact visits across the board, including mention of the report in the email to Napolitano.  We’ve sent the Secretary the report and heard back on her behalf from Phyllis Coven, ICE’s outreach person, saying they have every intention of opening access to families and community for people in their custody and plan to allow a minimum of one hour for visits, just as soon as the new detention standards come out (they’ve been stalled this summer).  I’m afraid alot of field offices and facilities haven’t gotten the memo.  

Aside from a few facilities shutting down (there are now 270 nationwide instead of the 350 there were a year ago), nothing’s changed, in fact, deportations and detention under Obama has increased and last month ICE signed a new contract with Orange County, CA to house between 850 and 1,400 detainees in two jails there.  I so wanted to be at the county board meeting where they voted to rent the bed space, to the tune of $35 million, and ask the county supervisors if they knew what the staffing costs would be to provide 900 detainees with hour long visits.  The proposal seemed to only include the expenses for building immigration courts in one of the facilities.

Here were some comments from our August 5th press release on the one year anniversary (Aug 6) of Assistant Secretary “Build a Better Mousetrap” Morton’s announcement that ICE would move away from detaining people in criminal settings.

“Instead of seeing improved conditions for immigrant detainees in facilities like Monmouth County jail, we’re seeing more detention beds, people being moved from facility to facility without easy access to counsel or family visits, and ongoing violations of ICE’s own national detention standards,” said Daniel Cummings…

On Monday, the ACLU of Southern California and its partners, including the ACLU Immigrant Rights Project, filed the first class action lawsuit in the country on behalf of mentally ill and mentally disabled detainees who are “left defenseless in a system they cannot comprehend” where, according to the complaint, “the Government has established no procedures for identifying whether a person is ‘incompetent’ in the first instance; no procedures for evaluating the mental health of individuals in immigration proceedings… no system for appointing counsel for those incompetent to represent themselves; and no rules for determining how people subject to prolonged detention as a result of their mental disabilities can be considered for release from incarceration pending resolution of their immigration cases.”

“Assistant Secretary Morton issued a June 30th memo directing field offices not to spend detention resources on vulnerable populations, including the elderly and mentally ill or disabled.  But vulnerable detainees continue to be held in New Jersey jails, including Monmouth County jail,” said Karina Wilkinson

Casa Freehold, New Labor and the Monmouth County Coalition for Immigrant Rights are calling on Monmouth County Sheriff Golden to end the Monmouth County contract with ICE.

His number is:  732-431-7139 in case you want to join our call to end detention in Monmouth.