Saturday, October 11, 2014

Kathy O'Leary at The Union County Courthouse on Ash Wednesday Pilgrimage...

Kathy O'Leary of Pax Christi NJ (formerly a board member of First Friends of NJ & NY) at the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth, NJ, speaking about Union County's compliance with ICE detainers, especially relevant in the light of the Third Circuit Court Of Appeals ruling the previous week that compliance is entirely voluntary. She addresses the paradox that the county claims no responsibility for the treatment of immigrant detainees at Corrections Corporation Of America (CCA)'s facility at EDC - even as it cooperates with the for-profit prison by helping to fill its beds, in this county that prides itself on its immigrant population.

This action was part of the 5th Annual Ash Wednesday Pilgrimage For Dismantling of the Detention and Deportation Machine that Feeds the Prison Industrial Complex At Sites Across New Jersey on Wednesday, March 5, 2014.

Ironically, Union County has since ceased to blindly honor all ICE detainers:

More about Pax Christi NJ may be found here:

This was near the end of a day-long series of events in 4 cities in New Jersey, Including a 10-Mile March from Ellis Island to the Elizabeth Detention Center; which culminated in the 18th Annual Vigil at EDC. People from across the state representing over a dozen faith-based, community, youth, and immigrant rights groups, & families of current & former detainees (including members from Pax Christi USA New Jersey, IRATE & First Friends, PICO-NJ, American Friends Service Committee AFSC Immigrant Rights Program, Wind of the Spirit and New Jersey Advocates For Immigrant Detainees or NJAID), The Most Rev. Bernard Hebda, Presiding Co-Adjutor Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark; The Most Reverend Thomas A. Donato, DD, Regional Bishop for Hudson County of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark; Rev. Canon Petero Sabune; Yves Nibungco, chairperson Anakbayan USA; Ana Bonilla Martinez, organizer, Wind of the Spirit; Luke Nephew, spoken word artist and member The Peace Poets) gathered in Camden, Elizabeth, Jersey City & Newark to call for the dismantling of the detention and deportation machine that is feeding the prison industrial complex.

Participants drew attention to the interconnectedness of our county's projection of military and economic power abroad with the flow of migrants and the way in which the detention and deportation machine feeds the prison industrial complex, tearing apart families in the process. Vigils, rallies and protests including prayer, music and testimony to call attention to our country's foreign policies that force people to migrate, were held to call for a halt to the detentions and deportations that are tearing apart families and to call for an end to prison profiteering.

Actions were held at Liberty State Park, the Hudson County Administration Bldg., St. Peter's University's Panepinto Plaza, St. James Church, the offices of Senators Cory Booker & Robert Menendez at One Gateway Center, the Rodino Federal Bldg., the Essex County Hall of Records, the Union County Courthouse, & EDC (a for-profit facility operated by the Corrections Corporation of America or CCA, where ICE first started incarcerating immigrants in NJ almost two decades ago).

A public statement against for-profit incarceration was made at the Board of Chosen Freeholders Meeting at the Essex County Hall of Records at 7pm. And there was also a mass held in solidarity at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Camden & a press conference with the family of a released detainee.

You can find the press release here:

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