New Jersey representatives tour ICE detention facility in Elizabeth

Members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation were in Elizabeth Wednesday to tour the ICE detention center there.

News 12 Staff

Aug 21, 2019, 9:33 PM

Updated 1,737 days ago

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Members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation were in Elizabeth Wednesday to tour the ICE detention center there.
Democratic Reps. Albio Sires and Frank Pallone said that this was part of an ongoing effort to oversee and monitor the facility and others like it in the region in order to make sure the people who are being detained inside are being treated properly and fairly.
“We hear horror stories of some of the other places where they detain people. We want to make sure that this doesn't become one of those places,” said Sires.
Sires had to leave before the actual tour of the facility due to prior commitments. But Pallone and some representatives from New York did go inside for what turned out to be a two-hour tour.
Pallone sad that after taking the tour and talking to some detainees that the conditions inside the facility seemed fine. He said that his concerns are more about how slow and broken he feels the process is for the detainees seeking political asylum.
“They’re all waiting for a hearing and they’re all political asylees,” Pallone said. “That’s what this country is based on. People came here because they were being persecuted, starting with Mayflower, right? For religious reasons. And we saw that today."
Pallone said that most of the people in the facility had legitimate cases for political asylum.
“But I have serious doubts that their cases will be heard in a fair way, because they don't have the preparation or they have a language barrier or they don't have documents or much help in making their case,” Pallone said.
The facility in Elizabeth is for single adults, so there are no children or families inside. Pallone would not comment further on the conditions he saw inside the facility. He said that the detention center had advanced notice of the visit, so he said that they could have prepared.
The tour comes as President Donald Trump announced new regulations to allow indefinite detention of migrant families who illegally cross the border. This would overturn the Flores Ruling, a decadesold agreement that allowed children be detained for up to 20 days.


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