Release of Report on Political Connections in Immigration Detention Contract

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 19 December 2011
Immigration Advocates to Release Report on Political Connections Surrounding Contract for Immigration Detention in Essex County

Report entitled “An Invitation for Abuse” details campaign contributions, lobbying and crony connections. Release timed to coincide with the 1 year anniversary of the announcement of selection of Essex County Jail and Delaney Hall as the new model for immigration detention

Conference Call – Immigration advocates from across the country will be available by teleconference tomorrow at 2 pm Eastern Time to discuss the findings of a report titled Essex County Immigration Detention Expansion, an Invitation for Abuse.  The report details large campaign contributions from CEC to elected officials and how that money supports crony connections and a system of elected and un-elected political bosses in Essex County which limit transparency and oversight.  Participants will include the reports authors, and contributors who are members of Enlace’s prison site fight working group.  The working group was convened this past August as a part of Enlace’s prison industry divestment campaign.

The release of the report is timed to coincide with the one year anniversary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) announcement that the Essex County Jail and Delaney Hall, the facility which is operated by the privately owned Community Education Centers, was selected as the site of the new northeast regional immigration detention facility.  ICE called the plans for the new facility a “model” for the country.

WHAT: Teleconference to release report on CEC, the Essex County Jail and the political connections behind the contract for immigration detention.

CALL IN INFO:  Dial-in Number: (218) 844-8230; Participant Access Code: 844617#
WHEN: Tuesday December 20h at 2 p.m. Eastern Time

WHO: Karina Wilkinson – Middlesex County Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Kathy O’Leary – Pax Christi NJ, Frank Smith – Private Corrections Working Group, Daniel Carillo – Enlace.
Last week, at the December 14th meeting, the Essex County Freeholders voted unanimously to approve a subcontract with Education & Health Centers of America (EHCA) to house immigrant detainees despite being presented with petition started on Change.org that had over 3000 signatures on-line and 1,000 in hard copy.

EHCA is the non-profit affiliate of CEC who will in turn sub-contract operations to CEC, in order to avoid revealing campaign contributions and to skirt a NJ State law prohibiting a for-profit company from holding a similar contract with Essex County for a half-way house.  CEC is a company with a spotty record and one that has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of Essex County politicians. In 2004, CEC closed the Wynona M. Lipman facility after years of complaints of abuse including the severe beating by staff members of a 17-year old inmate in September of 2003.  More information about CEC’s spotty record, specifically as it relates to facilities in New Jersey will be detailed in the report.

CONTACTS:
Kathy O’Leary, Pax Christi NJ, 973-610-1684, kolearypcnj@gmail.com
Karina Wilkinson, Middlesex County Coalition for Immigrant Rights, 310-980-0362, kwilkinson_act@yahoo.com
Daniel Carillo, Enlace, 323-514-4048, Daniel@enlaceintl.org
For more information on Pax Christi NJ, please visit:
http://paxchristiusa.org/
Pax Christi NJ is part of Pax Christi USA, a national Catholic organization, reaching over a half-million Catholics directly every year. We have over 400 local groups throughout the United States, over 100 bishop members, 700 parish sponsors, 600 religious communities, and 50 college and high school chapters.

For more information on Enlace’s Prison Industry Divestment Campaign please visit:

http://prisondivestment.wordpress.com/

Enlace, in partnership with community groups and unions across the US, is part of the Prison Divestment Campaign which is calling on all public and private institutions to divest their holdings in Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, America’s largest private prison corporations which profit annually from billions in taxpayer money.

 

For more information on Change.org, please visit:
http://www.change.org/about
Change.org is the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change — growing by more than 400,000 new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country.

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