Coalition protests jailing of immigrants in Newark

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NEWARK -

A collection of groups on immigrant rights, women's rights and unions demonstrated in front of the Essex County Jail in Newark on Saturday, demanding an end to its use as a detention facility for those arrested on immigration violations.

The group calls itself Resist the Deportation Machine, and says Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers that exist throughout the U.S. are "cruel and illegal."

"Jails are for public safety, for keeping people away from the community who are a harm to the community," says Kathy O'Leary. "If you're being held for what's basically violating an administrative order, then why? What's the purpose of holding them? If it's simply for punitive measures, we don't feel like that's right."

The rally comes amid continuing debate over a contract with ICE signed by Essex County Executive Joe Divincenzo and freeholders three years ago.

The county gets $117 per day per bed they allow ICE to use. Divencenzo has said it makes up 5 percent of the county's budget to pay for parks and public safety.

"Newark is a sanctuary city, Essex County is immigrant-friendly county, right? However, they have a contract where they have a partnership with ICE to jail undocumented immigrants in the Essex County Jail," says Alejandro Jaramillo.

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