There’s no independence without an end to detention and incarceration. On the day before our country celebrates Independence Day, we gather in front of the Elizabeth Detention Center to demand a release of all detainees to their communities and an end to the carceral state. No one can be free until we are all free. we demand #FreeThemAll and #FreeEDC.
Jails and prisons have seen major COVID-19 outbreaks even in areas where the virus is not spreading as sharply in the general population. Detainees at the privately-run Elizabeth Detention Center have spoken out about the dangerous conditions at the private ICE immigration facility operated by CoreCivic. Detainees recently joined a lawsuit seeking the immediate release of people detained at EDC or, in the alternative, expedited bail hearings. The lawsuit also seeks to stop ICE from admitting new people into EDC and from unilaterally transferring people from EDC to other immigration jails and prisons around the country
Keep in mind:
- New Jersey is located in the US epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the country.
- Union County has the fourth-highest number of cases and fatalities in the state.
- Additionally, the Core Civic private detention center in Elizabeth is not relaying information on testing or conditions to the public.
- Hector Mendoza, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, was deported to Mexico two-days after the lawsuit was filed, without notice to his attorney and after a federal judge filed an injection against the deportation. He is still missing.
- Living conditions are inhumane and unsafe
- DHS’s own doctors and experts around the nation are speaking up about the need for ICE to release detainees but ICE is not providing adequate levels of testing. https://whistleblower.org/press/study-projects-significant-impact-on-immigrants-and-local-health-care-if-ice-detention-populations-are-not-decreased
- Detained individuals are denied testing and medical treatment until they experience only the most severe symptoms of COVID-19, putting them at a higher risk of serious infection. Everyone must be tested properly and released from ICE and jail facilities.
- Many detainees are put in quarantine which is essentially solitary for 23 and half hours a day. This cannot be allowed and there needs to be a humane way to quarantine.
- Detainees must use their own commissary money to buy soap and fever reducers. What happens if they don’t have the money?