New Jersey, USA - This week, the Biden administration is expected to file an amicus brief joining private prison company CoreCivic in its attempt to keep an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prison open in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The Elizabeth Detention Center, a converted warehouse with nearly 30 years of documented abuse, is approaching its contract expiration with ICE on August 31, 2023, and is barred from renewing its contract under a New Jersey state law signed by Governor Murphy almost two years ago.
This move follows a similar Biden administration strategy in California, where the administration fought to prevent a private prison ban from taking effect.
A united coalition of New Jersey groups, calling on Governor Murphy and local, state, and federal officials to defend their residents, offered the following statement:
“The Biden Administration’s decision to side with CoreCivic, the world’s largest private prison company, is bitterly disappointing but unsurprising. New Jersey is no stranger to the uphill battle it will take to remove ICE’s abusive presence from our communities, nor the megacorporations who seek to profit off of our communities’ misery. We are proud of our history of resistance that ended ICE contracts with local counties across the state. We will continue our pressure to ensure that the Elizabeth Detention Center is closed permanently, that all people are freed, and that the building is never used to warehouse people for any purpose again.
We are in a critical moment. With a little over a month left until the contract expires, the local and state elected officials who once condemned the EDC under previous administrations must step up and condemn it today. We want to remind them of the tremendous suffering and resistance to the Elizabeth Detention Center since it opened nearly 30 years ago. Tens of thousands of people, inside and outside the prison, have protested the inhumane conditions, and at least two people, Boubacar Bah and Victor Ramirez-Reyes, have tragically died due to their detention there.
We will continue to demand action and honor the lives destroyed by US immigration policy. We urge communities across New Jersey to join our fight to end the unnecessary, inhumane, and abuse-riddled practice of immigration detention.
We urge Governor Murphy and all elected officials to provide a prompt and public response to rebuke the Biden administration's attempt to undermine New Jersey values.”
AAPI Montclair, American Friends Service Committee, American Muslims for Palestine - NJ, ANSWER Coalition, Bend the Arc Jewish Action: South Jersey, Black Lives Matter Paterson, Casa Freehold, Communist Workers League, Cosecha NJ, Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) - New Jersey, Detention Watch Network, Democratic Socialists of America - Essex County, North New Jersey DSA, Fair Share Housing Center, Families For Freedom, Faith in New Jersey, First Friends of New Jersey & New York, FAITH+WORKS UU Congregation of Orange, Haiti Solidarity Network of the Northeast, Indivisible Brooklyn, International Defenders Council, Latino Action Network Foundation, Laundry Workers Center, Make the Road New Jersey, National Domestic Workers Alliance, New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, New Jersey Consortium for Immigrant Children, New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence, NJ Forum for Human Rights, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, New Jersey Policy Perspective, Northern New Jersey NOW, Northern New Jersey Sanctuary Coalition, Our Revolution New Jersey , Pax Christi New Jersey, Party for Socialism and Liberation New Jersey, Riverside Church , Salvation and Social Justice, Shalom Friends Detention Visitation Group, Sojourners Detention Visitation Ministry, SPAN Parent Advocacy Network, Teaneck Peace and Justice Vigil, The Fund for New Jersey, The Interfaith Campaign for Just Closures , The Mami Chelo Foundation, Unidad Latina en Acción NJ, University of Orange , Urban League of Union County, and Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center