NEWARK - New Jersey officials are scheduled to vote later today on whether to approve a contract that would nearly double the number of immigrant detainees housed in the state.

The Essex County Freeholders board will decide whether to award a contract for the Newark facility to Education and Health Centers of America Inc.

An earlier bid by the company was voided after Sen. Frank Lautenberg and immigration advocacy groups questioned why EHCA had been the sole bidder.

Essex County put the contract out for bid again, but a county spokesman says EHCA was the sole bidder.

Immigration advocacy groups have submitted a petition to block the bid.