State lawmakers call for closure of ICE detention center

Elizabeth is home to the only private immigration detention center in the state.

News 12 Staff

Aug 25, 2023, 8:34 PM

Updated 321 days ago

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Private immigration detention centers could become a thing of the past in New Jersey.
Elizabeth is home to the only private immigration detention center in the state.
The contract between Immigration and Customs Enforcement and EDC’s operator CoreCivic ends next Thursday.
This comes after CoreCivic sued the state of New Jersey to overturn a 2021 law which prohibits state and local entities from entering into agreements with private detention facilities to detain noncitizens.
News 12 spoke with Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, who joined 9 other members of the state's Congressional Delegation in sending a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland calling on the Department of Justice to rescind its support for CoreCivic.
"We do not believe A, that this has been a safe and secure facility that treats individuals with their human rights and protection. And B, we do not think that this is a way to reform immigration,” said Coleman."We need to treat the immigrants that are coming to this country or that have been in this country for a long period of time with the same dignity and respect that we'd like to be treated ourselves."
There have been reports in the past about inhumane conditions at EDC and other centers owned by CoreCivic. However, CoreCivic says those reports are four to six years old and that their priority is the wellbeing of those in their care.
Lawmakers and activists rallied at the detention center this past weekend over what they say are barbaric conditions inside the building.
"The ways in which people are held in detention, the conditions inside, the types of retaliation and harassment that they receive have not meaningfully changed. So, we do don't believe that there's been any meaningful change at the Elizabeth detention center,” said Amy Torres, of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice.
Overcrowding, inadequate medical and mental health care are among other issues mentioned in the letter from New Jersey delegates.
EDC has been in Elizabeth since 2005 and has had their contract renewed four times. Advocates for detainees say EDC is currently housing more than 200 people, who would all have to be relocated if the facility is shut down.


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