Ending Immigration Detention In New Jersey
Putting communities of color and low-income people behind cages is an epidemic that has long plagued New Jersey, and we believe that it is our duty to fight against the systems that contribute to this oppression. Family separation, incarceration, detention, and deportations have been impacting families in our state for decades. Fighting against the over-policing of our communities and the separation of our families has to be a priority for each and every locality in our state.
We believe in the abolition of the systems that oppress our communities, ending the over-incarceration, detention, and deportation of our people. We support efforts nationally to ensure that these fights are coordinated, so we can win freedom for all through solidarity with our brothers and sisters fighting against these systems across the country. This includes efforts to stop any new jails or detention centers from being built, closing down all current facilities that detain or incarcerate our people, urging localities to stop the militarization of our local law enforcement, and for Congress to defund Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Only through a comprehensive strategy that includes all these national components and our partners across the country will we see the end of the caging of our families.
New Jersey has one of the country’s highest rates of racial disparity of those incarcerated, and one of the highest numbers of detentions in the nation. New Jersey residents, impacted families, as well advocates from the region do not want our localities to participate in the incarceration, detention, and/or deportation of our friends and families. To that end, we must do our best to tackle every part of these systems by:
- Urging our congressional representatives to stand with our communities by not supporting any budgets that include funding for incarceration, over-policing, detention, or deportation.
- Maintaining oversight in our local communities for any proposals for new and expanded jails, prisons, detention centers, or contracts/partnerships with the agencies that are over-policing our communities.
- Advocating at the local level to ensure that localities that have any jails, prisons, contracts/agreements are held accountable for their role in these systems.
- Prioritizing the needs and voices of those who are currently trapped in these systems, fighting for fair policies that support them before, during, and after their detention or incarceration.
While we fight in conjunction with our partners across the country to end these systems once and for all, we also believe that local organizing is important. We support our partners who have been fighting against the incarceration, detention, and deportation of our families in their own communities. They’ve been attending freeholder meetings, organizing marches, rallies, and press events. Their work has lifted up the voices of those impacted and ensured that the lives of our people are not forgotten or ignored.
We have always believed that ending immigration detention nationally requires that our state also join the fight against family separations and policies that are based on hate toward immigrants. With a consistent increase in immigration detention in New Jersey since 2016, it is clear that New Jersey plays a major role in the national landscape of immigrant detention. Our goal is to continue to fight this system in coordination with partners across the country.
There is no doubt that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have become political tools for xenophobic nativist politics. This is especially evident in the past few years. ICE and CBP cannot be expected to change their tactics as they have fully embodied racist rhetoric. We fully understand that they will continue to terrorize our communities. To that end, in order to end the unjust detention and separation of our families, we must prioritize the voices and needs of our communities– those outside and inside the facilities– and that their well-being must come first. Our advocacy efforts are guided by those detained by ICE and CBP and their families, and their needs are our number one priority.
We understand that the same system that detains and deports immigrants has been incarcerating black and brown bodies for the financial benefit of the state for centuries, leaving our communities systematically over-policed, brutalized, and dehumanized. Our fight is the same fight; when we speak of those behind bars, we speak also of those who face incarceration. We demand the end to the detention, incarceration, and inhumane treatment of our friends and community members. Until our counties prioritize investing into our communities rather than expanding the incarceration system as a whole, we will continue to fight to dismantle these systems.
- End all immigration detention and private prison contracts, ensuring that people who are detained and people who are incarcerated have access to the resources necessary to return to their communities and lower the risk of their deportations or transfers to other facilities;
- As these contracts are being terminated, improve conditions of confinement for those incarcerated and detained at these facilities, which includes a comprehensive, public, and transparent oversight process that is accountable to the public and to advocates;
- Expand access to legal representation for all facing deportation in our communities, in and out of detention;
- Provide support for people and families impacted by immigration detention and incarceration, including support through services in communities as determined by local service providers and advocates;
- Implement common-sense criminal justice reforms to protect immigrants and others from being swept into the system;
- Ensure transparency in all contracts of any type – facility use and vendors, data and record keeping, and updates to all policies.
- Human rights apply to all people
- People belong in communities with their families, not in cages
- End civil immigration detention and support national campaigns to end detention, as well as end the increase of incarceration and private prisons; No one should be profiting off the unjust and inhumane housing of ICE detainees and others in private prisons
- People deserve to be treated with respect and dignity as they fight their cases
For more information, please contact us at [email protected]