FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

           Contacts: Chia-Chia Wang, American Friends Service Committee, 646-509-3860

          John Skrodinsky,  Wind of The Spirit Immigration Resource Center, 973-896-0444

 New Jersey Residents To Walk in Support of Immigrant Rights, Oppose Massive Detention Centers in Essex County and Nationwide

RALLY-Thursday February 17th 11AM in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office (970 Broad Street, Newark)

Walk starts at 12noon to Essex County Correctional Facility (354 Doremus Avenue, Newark)

 NEWARK, NJ February 15, 2011 —Human rights advocates and immigrants will walk from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in downtown Newark to Essex County Correctional Facility to oppose the addition of 2,700 new immigration detention beds to the already crowded and inhumane immigration detention system.

Organizers will walk the three-mile trek from ICE to Essex County Correctional Facility dressed in orange jump suits, symbolizing prison uniforms, to show solidarity for immigrant detainees who are jailed, often indefinitely, for civil immigration violations. “When a member of our communities is detained because of their immigration status, we all suffer,” said Sister Kay Coll who will participate Thursday.

 Immigrant communities are concerned that increased collaboration between local police and federal immigration agencies has led to an unjust expansion of detention centers, many of which operate at capacity. “When local police collaborate with immigration it sends a chilling effect in our communities, it tears families apart and unjustly incarcerates our friends and neighbors,” said Jessica Culley, an organizer with the Comité de Apoyo a Los Trabajadores Agrícolas (C.A.T.A), a farm workers group in southern Jersey.

Earlier this year, organizers urged Gov. Christie not to enter into an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security to implement a federal program  which is known to  contribute to racial profiling and mistrust between immigrants and local police, and which will only add to the detained population.

Walkers and participants also will speak out in support of release of immigrant detainees to their families and communities, which is more humane and less costly.

This event is endorsed by the following organizations: Accion 21; American Civil Liberties Union‐PA; Angeles in Action Fundation; American Friends Service Committee (AFSC); Casa de Esperanza; Casa Freehold; Comite en Union para Salvadorenos (CEUS); Detention Watch Network; El Centro Hispano Americano; El Comité de Apoyo a Los Trabajadores Agrícolas (C.A.T.A); Families For Freedom; Haiti Solidarity Network of the Northeast; Ironbound Community Corporation(ICC); Jornaleros Unidos de Passaic; Latin American Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc (LALDEF); New Jersey Forum for Human Rights; Middlesex County Coalition for Immigrant Rights; Monmouth County Coalition for Immigrant Rights; NJ Association on Correction; Passaic County Coalition for Immigrant Rights; Pax Christi NJ; Reformed Church of Highland Park; Sister of Saint Joseph of Philadelphia; Solidaridad Latino Americana; Unidad Latino Americana; Unidad Latina en Accion NJ; Wind of the Spirit, Immigrant Resource Center.