Report: The Expansion and Failed Reform of Immigration Detention in New Jersey

New Jersey Advocates Release Report Denouncing Conditions in

Essex County Immigration Detention Facilities

Newark, NJ – New Jersey Advocates for Immigrant Detainees* and the NYU School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic will release a comprehensive report on immigration detention in Essex County.  The report, “Immigration Incarceration:  The Expansion and Failed Reform of Immigration Detention in Essex County, NJ,” takes a hard look at the results of the expansion of immigration detention in Essex County and will be released on March 23, 2012 at a conference on immigration detention issues at Rutgers—Newark Center for Law & Justice.** A full copy of the report is available online at Continue reading

Conference on Immigration Detention System

Conference on Immigration Detention System

Immigrant Detainees: Alone, Unrepresented & Imprisoned
A joint conference of Rutgers School of Law–Newark, Seton Hall Law School, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and New York University School of Law.

Featuring keynote speaker U.S. Senator Robert Menendez ’79.

March 23, 2012, 8 am – 5:30 pm
Rutgers School of Law–Newark

To register for the conference, click here. To download the conference brochure, click here. Continue reading

Video: Wells Fargo Is Not Our Friend!

The Human Stories Behind the Immigration Detention Contract

Via IRATE & First Friends Since Essex County signed its contract with ICE to expand immigration detention to 1250 people this past fall, Essex County has been in the news.   Not just for the shady back doors deals and political contributions from the private for-profit company that received the immigration detention subcontract but also for the suffering that this contract is causing to local residents and their families.

In October, there was the story of Neida Lavayen whose fiance was taken into custody one week before their wedding and held at Delaney Hall until he was deported to Ecuador. Continue reading



Kathy O’Leary, Pax Christi NJ, 973-610-1684, 
Sally Pillay, IRATE & First Friends, 201-394-9093, 
Br.John Skrodinsky(English & Spanish), 973-896-0444,


Pilgrims To March from Ellis Island in Liberty State Park to the Elizabeth Detention Center for the 3rd Consecutive Year on Ash Wednesday.

Jersey City, NJ- Beginning at 10 am on Wednesday, February 22, members from over two dozen faith based, community and immigrant rights groups, including members from Pax Christi NJ, IRATE & First Friends, American Friends Service Committee Immigrant Rights Program- Newark and NJ Advocates for Immigrant Detainees, will gather in Liberty State Park, just off Freedom Way, in front of the footbridge to Ellis Island for a press conference and prayer service before beginning a 12 mile “pilgrimage” that will end at theElizabethDetentionCenter. Continue reading

For Sandals & Silver – 3rd Annual Pilgrimage from Ellis Island to the EDC

For Sandals & Silver
“Because they hand over the just for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals; they trample the heads of the destitute into the dust of the earth, and force the lowly out of the way. “ Amos 2: 6-7

Beginning with a prayer service & press conference At 10:00 am at Freedom Way (Liberty State Park), Jersey City, NJ on Wednesday February 22nd

Ending with a prayer service and distribution of ashes at the Gates of the Elizabeth Detention Center 625 Evans St., Elizabeth, NJ

Join us as we walk 12 miles from the footbridge at Ellis Island (a powerful symbol of our nation’s history of welcoming immigrants), to the barbed wire fences at the gates of the Elizabeth Detention Center. Approximately 2000 immigrants are currently being held in NJ in the Elizabeth Detention Center and local county jails. The number of immigrants being held in NJ continues to rise because there is money to be made from incarcerating people. County jails receive reimbursement from the federal government at a higher rate than it costs to house immigrant detainees and private companies like Corrections Corp of America and Community Education Centers profit from their contracts with the counties and with the federal government. Further, banks like Wells Fargo profit from their investments in these private companies.

Sponsored By IRATE & First Friends & Pax Christi NJ

co-sponsored by: AFSC Immigrant Rights Program – Newark, Wind of the Spirit

For more information, to sign up to walk, or to co-sponsor contact Kathy O’Leary 908-273-0751

Ash Wednesday Vigil at the Elizabeth Detention Center

Ash Wednesday Vigil at the Elizabeth Detention Center

Wednesday February 22nd from 6pm- 9pm

Corner of Dowd Ave & Evans Street, Elizabeth, NJ

Again this year we will welcome the pilgrims who will be coming from Ellis Island to meet and pray with us as we seek restoration of humanity to our immigration system. These pilgrims will join with us in an ecumenical service at the detention center to pray for the release of our incarcerated neighbors. Ashes will be distributed to those wishing them.

Following the vigil, participants will be welcomed to a Lenten Soup Supper at the St Joseph Social Center, 118 Division Street, Elizabeth. Here you can meet with your concerned neighbors and hear a brief message about justice for immigrants.
Please plan to come with your family, friends and neighbors and bring candles, real or electric. Click here for facebook event

End Detention Abuse: Free Charley Chehoud!

Charley Chehoud is an asylum seeker who left Lebanon in 1989 to escape religious persecution. He has worked with New Jersey police for years – even helping solve a high profile murder case. Because of a missed court date, he is facing deportation and ICE continues to hold him in solitary confinement.

Vigil Demanding ICE  Stop Inhumane Treatment of Immigrants and Release Charley

Tuesday January 31st from 12pm- 3pm

Essex County Correctional Facility (354 Doremus Avenue, Newark, NJ 07105) Continue reading

Cronyism, political donations surround detention center in Newark, says report by immigrant advocates

Cronyism, political donations surround detention center in Newark, says report by immigrant advocates

By Eunice Lee/The Star-Ledger
NEWARK — Immigrant advocates released a report Tuesday detailing what they describe as campaign contributions and hidden political ties behind the nonprofit group that subcontracts services for Delaney Hall, a private detention facility in Newark.

The 19-page report comes almost a week after the Essex County freeholders awarded a lucrative immigrant-detention contract to the group, Education and Health Centers of America. Immigration advocates include in the report what they describe as “crony connections and a system of elected and un-elected political bosses in Essex County which limit transparency and oversight” surrounding the detention center. Continue reading

Essex County Immigration Detention Expansion, an Invitation for Abuse

Essex County Immigration Detention Expansion, an Invitation for Abuse

 Background: In early August, Essex County Executive, Joe DiVincenzo, entered into a new Inter-Governmental Services Agreement (IGSA) with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to increase the number of ICE detainees held in Essex County from 500 to 1,250.  Until the new agreement, New Jersey had experienced a continued increase in the number of immigration detention having reached the previous all time high of approximately 1,600 beds in February, 2010.  The Essex County Correctional Facility immediately added 300 additional beds, and the privately-run Delaney Hall opened to 68 women and 382 men opened in October. The total number of detention beds in New Jersey is now around 2,350.

Download Full Report Continue reading

Release of Report on Political Connections in Immigration Detention Contract

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. Continue reading

New Jersey Private Prison Company Given Jail Contract It Lost

New Jersey Company Is Given Jail Contract It Lost

By | Published: December 14, 2011

Over the summer, Essex County, N.J., abruptly canceled plans for a contract with a private company to house federal immigrant detainees after questions were raised about the sole bidder, a company with close ties to Gov. Chris Christie. But after county officials conducted a new round of bidding in October, the same company was again the only participant, and on Wednesday night, county officials unanimously approved the contract. Continue reading




Passions still running high over Essex County Freeholders’ decision to house immigrant detainees for profit at local jail and adjacent privately owned facility; hundreds more signatures on petition at to revoke the ICE contract to be presented; outraged citizens to attend Freeholders meeting to deliver message of “People before Profit.”

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ – Outraged New Jersey residents will be participating in a second “Occupy the Freeholders” action on Wednesday December 14th at the Essex County Freeholders meeting to convey the message that Essex County Freeholders needs to put people before profit and forgo the approval of an immigration detention sub-contract that will enrich the for-profit prison operator of Delaney Hall.  Continue reading

Immigrants are the 99%: Protestors Call out Essex County Freeholders

Immigrants are the 99%: Protestors Call out Essex County Freeholders

by Rachel LaBruyere · 2011-12-13

Last Wednesday, a few dozen dedicated community members gathered in the cold rain pounding down on Military Park to protest the expansion of immigrant prison for profit in Newark, NJ. They were joined by members of the Occupy Newark protest as they marched to the local branch of Wells Fargo, the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and finally to the Hall of Records. Kathy O’Leary, who started the petition to stop the expansion of an immigrant detention center in Essex County, NJ, led the group as they marched through the rainy Newark streets chanting “jobs not jails” and “immigrants are the 99%”. Continue reading

Residents Demand No More For-Profit Prisons!

This Wednesday 12/14 at 7:00 pm in room 506 at the Hall of Records in Newark,the Essex County Freeholders will again discuss the awarding of the sub-contract for immigration detention to the non-profit affiliate of Community Education Centers (CEC).


  • We will have plenty of supporters of immigrant rights calling for an end to detention
  • John Clancy the CEO of CEC will be on hand
  • We will present the freeholders with hundreds more signatures on the petition to revoke the ICE contract.

Please join us if you can this Wed 12/14 at 7:00 pm at The Hall of Records (465 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Room 506, Newark, NJ)

Watch the video from the last Freeholder Meeting

Continue reading