Thursday, October 6, 2011
NEW JERSEY RESIDENTS, FAITH LEADERS WILL MARCH TO OPPOSE EXPANDING IMMIGRANT DETENTION
Thousands angered by Essex County Freeholders’ decision to house immigrant detainees at local jail demand more humane conditions on petition at Change.org; hundreds to attend Newark rally on Sunday.
ESSEX COUNTY, NJ – Hundreds of concerned New Jersey residents will march on Sunday in opposition to an expanded contract with a local jail that would include housing up to 1,250 immigrant detainees.
The march will include members of Pax Christi NJ, more than 18 immigrant rights and religious organizations, and individuals who signed a petition on Change.org calling for more humane conditions in the jail. They will march to Essex County Correctional Facility, which has been been accused of inhumane conditions including restrictions on visits from family, lawyers, and clergy; inadequate food and general safety; and denial of access of medical services.
WHAT: March and rally in opposition to inhumane conditions at for-profit detention center WHERE: Beginning at Peter Francisco Park (Adjacent to Newark Penn Station) in Newark, NJ, and marching to Essex County Correctional Facility & Delaney Hall, 356 Doremus Ave., Newark, NJ
WHEN: 1:30pm - 4:30pm, Sunday, October 9, 2011
“The Essex County Executive and the Freeholders want us to believe that they can spin the misery of the immigrants in their custody into gold for the rest of the residents of Essex County, but they are perpetuating an environment in which profit is the primary motivator while shirking their responsibility for oversight,” said faith leader Kathy O’Leary, who launched an online campaign on Change.org calling for a community oversight board and immediate improvement of the conditions at the jail for immigrant detainees, as well as a full termination of the contract.
O’Leary is a member of Pax Christi NJ, one of the groups organizing the rally. A large coalition of faith groups is asking that the Freeholders ensure visiting hours that include evenings and weekends; contact visits for family members; no restrictions on visits, phone calls, and other contact with lawyers and clergy; adequate mental and physical health care; healthy food that complies with dietary restrictions and religious observances; unrestricted access to communal religious services; and regular outdoor recreation free from exposure to hazardous environmental conditions. O’Leary’s petition on Change.org has already garnered more than 2,000 signatures.
“Kathy O’Leary and Pax Christi NJ’s campaign to win humane conditions for immigrant detainees is quite impressive,” said Jackie Mahendra, Change.org’s Director of Organizing for Immigrant Rights. “Change.org is about empowering anyone, anywhere to demand action on the issues that matter to them, and it’s been really incredible to see this campaign take off.”
Live signature totals from the Kathy O’Leary and Pax Christi NJ’s campaign: