NJ Congressional Delegation Urges President Biden to Withdraw Support for Elizabeth Detention Center’s Private Operator CoreCivic

NEW JERSEY - Today, ten Congressional leaders from New Jersey delivered a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) expressing their concern regarding the Biden administration’s support of private prison company CoreCivic’s lawsuit against the state’s landmark sanctuary policy banning immigration detention. The law, AB 5207, prohibits state and local entities and private detention facilities from entering into agreements to detain immigrant community members and would prevent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from operating the Elizabeth Detention Center (EDC) past its contract expiration on August 31, 2023. 

Senators Booker and Menendez in addition to Representatives Watson Coleman, Menendez Jr., Payne Jr., Pascrell, Pallone, Gottheimer, Kim, and Sherrill are asking the Biden administration and the DOJ to respect the democratically approved legislation and side with constituents over private interests.

“The enactment of AB 5207 aligns with President Biden’s vow to end the federal government’s use of privately operated criminal detention facilities, which underscores our concern for the Administration’s support for CoreCivic’s lawsuit. We are troubled that the DOJ’s intervention could undermine that effort by continuing to take part in this lawsuit. CoreCivic’s quest to continue operating EDC in violation of AB 5207 undermines our state’s democratic process and is counter to the wishes of the community in Elizabeth, local congressional districts, and the state. It must not be met with support from the federal government,” reads the letter.

“We are grateful to Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman and other members of New Jersey’s federal delegation for voicing their unequivocal stance that the Biden administration must reverse course on its support of CoreCivic’s lawsuit,” said Amy Torres of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. “The EDC has a well-documented history of abuse, and for decades, communities across New Jersey have been demanding that our local facilities shut down. Two years ago, that organizing effort was answered by the passage of AB 5207 and ceased ICE operations at our three country-run jails. Now it’s time for President Biden to keep his promise to end for-profit detention, respect the will of the people of New Jersey, and end the Elizabeth Detention Center’s contract so we can close the facility permanently.”

Judge Kirsch has still not released a decision in the case which was first heard August 15th. He is expected to do so before August 31st.


Amy Torres


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