By Terri Kay
December 10, 2022 – On International Human Rights Day, about 40 supporters of the Interfaith Campaign for Just Closures rallied at the Union County Courthouse in downtown Elizabeth, New Jersey, demanding the closure of the Elizabeth Detention Center to:
- remind leaders in Elizabeth that there is still a migrant jail in their city that needs to be shut down
- raise awareness in the community about the continued presence of CoreCivic and ICE
- demand that the facility is not converted to another carceral space after ICE leaves
Historically, immigration detention in New Jersey began with the Elizabeth Detention Center, a converted warehouse. Abuse, inhumane deaths, and hundreds of thousands of families torn apart are what the victims of this private, for profit, immigrant detention center suffered at the hands of the ICE-authorized CoreCivic company.
The City of Elizabeth approved its opening in 1994. It was then forced to close in 1995 after an uprising over the abusive and racist treatment by guards damaged the facility. The City authorized it to reopen 18 months later.
The building is owned by a subsidiary of a local company with many political connections known as Elberon Development Group.
New Jersey Governor Murphy signed an anti-detention bill in August, 2021 which bars CoreCivic from continued operations after 2023. The Interfaith Campaign for Just Closures intends to ensure the closing of this facility and work for releases and not transfers.