Driving Protest to #FreeThemAll Comes to Trenton


 Driving Protest to #FreeThemAll Comes to Trenton

Activists Urge Press to Ask Gov Murphy about His Plans for Immigrants in Detention


Trenton- On Monday, April 6th, from 12:30 to 2:00 pm, family members of people incarcerated by ICE in NJ, community members, faith leaders, immigrant advocates, political activists and social justice organizations are among the those taking action in a “driving protest” to urge the press to ask Governor Murphy about his plans for people held pursuant to contracts with ICE in the county jails as well as all those held at the Elizabeth Detention Center and his efforts to release them in light of the pandemic.


Thirty organizations, led by the coalition, Resist the Deportation Machine (RDM), sent a letter on March 23rd to Governor Murphy calling on him to “act swiftly in the interest of public health and safety not only for those in the jails and detention center, but also for the public at large”. The Governor has yet to acknowledge this letter. Members of RDM urged the Governor to use his emergency powers to release all immigrant detainees immediately.


Another 40 organizations lead by American Friends Service Committee and People’s Organization for Progress sent a letter to the Governor on the same day urging him to work with ICE to release all immigrants in detention in NJ. The governor also has yet to acknowledge this letter.


“During this unprecedented emergency, citizens and advocacy groups have almost no access to the governor. We rely on the press now more than ever to ask critical questions about vulnerable people who may be overlooked in the government’s response. We are here to let the press and the governor know that people in immigration detention, many with underlying health conditions, are trapped in notoriously unsanitary facilities…


This is the fifth driving protest that has been organized in NJ since social distancing orders have been in place to protest the continued incarceration of people who are merely suspected of being violation of immigration law during the Covid-19 pandemic.


People locked up in immigration detention are extremely vulnerable to the spread of infectious disease due to their deprivation of liberty, deteriorating health while in detention, physical proximity to others who may be infected, and the track record of inadequate medical care in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) custody. Over three thousand medical professional demanded on March 19 that ICE release the detainees now. Doctors employed by DHS itself have warned of “tinderbox” spread unless the detainees are released.


The coalition members have reason to be concerned over the cleanliness of the facilities and the limited access to healthcare for detainees held in NJ. From 2010 to 2016 NJ Advocates for Immigrant Detainees, a coalition of organizations concerned about the overuse and abuse of immigration detention, published a series of reports, in cooperation with the NYU Law Immigrant Rights Clinic, which documented the poor conditions in immigration detention including, lack of access to clean drinking water, inedible and spoiled food, abuse of solitary confinement and inadequate and denial of access to medical care.


From 2016 to 2018, ACLU, Detention Watch Network, Human Rights Watch, and the National Immigrant Justice Center released three reports detailing how inadequate medical care has contributed to numerous deaths in ICE custody. The dangerous and deadly effects of coronavirus are exacerbated in confinement, where people incarcerated are often malnourished due to rotting food and are denied information on the most basic of measures to prevent exposure of the virus.




Reports by NJ Advocates for Immigrant Detainees:


Locked Up But Not Forgotten – 2010


Immigration Incarceration: the Expansion and Failed Reform of Immigration Detention in Essex County, NJ-2012


23 Hours in the Box: Solitary Confinement in NJ Immigration Detention-2015


Isolated in Essex: Punishing Immigrants Through Solitary Confinement – 2016


DHS’s own report on conditions inside the Essex County Jail:


Issues Requiring Action at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark, NJ – 2019


Resist the Deportation MachineA Coalition of Social Justice & Immigrant Rights Groups Working to End Immigration Detention and All Cooperation with ICE in New Jersey 

March 23, 2020 

Dear Governor Murphy, 

We, the undersigned activist and social justice groups, are calling on you to exercise your emergency power to immediately release all people held pursuant to intergovernmental service agreements with ICE in the county jails and all those held at the Elizabeth Detention Center. We stand in solidarity with, ACLU-NJ, American Friends Service Committee- Newark People’s Organization for Progress, and other criminal justice advocates that have already called for the immediate release of as many inmates in New Jersey’s penal facilities as possible. We call on you to release on parole all non-violent prisoners, all elderly or sick prisoners and all prisoners nearing their release. 

We call on you to act swiftly in the interest of public health and safety, not only for those in the jails and the detention center, but also for the public at large. In order to control the spread of the virus, it is imperative that these people be released and not simply transferred to another detention facility hundreds of miles away. 

The threat of a coronavirus outbreak in New Jersey’s jails and the Elizabeth Detention Center is imminent. People locked up in immigration detention are extremely vulnerable to the spread of infectious disease due to their deprivation of liberty, deteriorating health while in detention, physical proximity to others who may be infected, and the track record of inadequate medical care in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) custody. Over three thousand medical professionals demanded on March 19 that ICE release the detainees now. Doctors employed by DHS itself have warned of “tinderbox” spread unless the detainees are released. 

Jails and detention centers are not sealed environments. They require significant outside staffing in rotating shifts. The concentration of people, plus the rotation of people from different parts of the community through these facilities, makes them much more vulnerable. In addition, what happens within the jail is sure to spread to the local community. 

The coronavirus will take the path of least resistance to spread. It is your duty to protect the entire community by clearing the jails of all those who can be released without endangering public safety. We urge you to fulfill this duty immediately. 



Bergen College Socialists Bergen County Immigration Strategy Group Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War Close The Camps NJ Cosecha NJ 

Decarcerate the Garden State Elizabeth NJ Catholic Worker Green Party of Monmouth County NJ Haiti Solidarity Network of the Northeast Haitian Bridge Alliance Hoffman for Senate 2020 Hudson For All ICE Free NJ Indivisible NJ5 Green Party of New Jersey Jews Against ICE New Jersey Jobs and Equal Rights for All Lazos America Unida Never Again Action New Jersey Never Again Newark New Jersey Jewish Coalition for Refugees New Jersey Peace Action New Jersey Progressive Democrats of Union County NJ Anti-War Agenda NJ State Industrial Union Council NJ State Industrial Union Council NJ Unitarian Universalist Faith Action North Jersey DSA Immigrant Justice Working Group Occupy Bergen County Office of Peace, Justice, and Ecological Integrity, Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth Our Revolution Passaic County Party for Socialism and Liberation Pax Christi NJ Reformed Church of Highland Park Resist the Deportation Machine St. Peter’s University Social Justice Program Students For Justice Maplewood/South Orange Sunrise Movement Morris County The Students for Justice Club at Columbia High School Unidad Latina en Accion Welcome Home Jersey City 


Jim Price Montclair

Norma Paz Hamilton

Stacey Gregg Wharton

Karl Schwartz Newark Mary Rizzo Newark

Kristin Shea Verona

Marinus J. Broekman, PhD Fair Lawn

Katie Singer Millburn

Ed Jones Maplewood

Mary Larsen Newark

Carinne Murphy Fair Lawn 

Lauren Wilfong North Bergen

Luis Urdanivia North Bergen

Marge Leonard Plainfield

Matt Dragon West Orange

Liz Reisman Morristown

John Lisowski Clifton

Cecilia Lakewood

Andrea Wren-Hardin Maplewood

Oscar Macoto Newark

Karuna Sangam Highland Park

Jeanne Stella Closter

Michele van Allen Hardyston Township

AL Liou Edison

Dr. Emily K. Filardo Montclair

Lorna Henkel Secaucus

Margaret Taddei West Caldwell

Elizabeth Johnson Maplewood

Kelly Shea Hackettstown

Susana C. Tapia, MD Montclair

Sandra Bound brook

Jamie Klenetsky Fay Morristown

Rev. Susan Sica Parsippany

Jordan Muhammad South Orange

David Mastrodonato Union

Carol E Gay Brick

Jade Borges Trenton

Jay Arena Newark

Wendy Gomez Princeton

Heather Craven Maplewood

Maria Eva Dorigo Montclair

Maria Romano Princeton

Camilo Mendez Montclair

Maya Hardimon Princeton

Ritu Pancholy South Orange

Lisette Ramos Ridgewood

Tom Taylor Princeton

Sarah Schneider South Orange

Noemi Henriquez Perth Amboy

Dr. Satenik Margaryan Bloomfield

Vicki Korlishin Montclair

Harshita Rallabhandi Princeton

Mark Lee Princeton

Clarke Wheeler Princeton

Mary Aktay Pompton Plains

Mary B. West Orange

John E. Dumont Liam Schramm Highland Park

Riley Edwards Princeton

Sophie Maplewood

Jeff S Princeton 

Zaynab Khan Kendall Park

Isabel Biermann Mullica Hill

Erica Jones Glen Rock

Lillian Hartman Maplewood

Jim Price Montclair

Jennifer Larsen West Orange

Madison McGehee Maplewood

Deborah Ode New Jersey

Phoebe Holt-Reiss Maplewood

Jamie Ross Maplewood

Nicole Aguilera Maplewood

Piper Davenport Maplewood

Deshawnna Exilus South Orange

Gabrielle Lecour West Orange

Kathy Greenstone South Orange

Auri M. Konan Maplewood

Lucy Parry South Orange

Edie Worrell Maplewood

Abby Gardner Maplewood

Fiona Bristol Maplewood

Sue Truesdell Tenafly

Aniyah Florio Maplewood

Kei Kurimoto Medford

Dylan Herbert Maplewood

Pamela Orlowicz Rutherford

Dalton Favors South Orange

Austin Greitz Caldwell

Eugenio Espinosa Jersey City

Dahlia Herzog Teaneck

Mariana Campos Horta Montclair

Max Andrejco South Orange

Sarah E. Savino Maplewood

Shania Campbell Maplewood

Skyler Jones Maplewood

Alex Feinberg South Orange

Maya Krauss Maplewood

Angelina Garg Maplewood

Isioma Grant South Orange

Jan Kaminsky Maplewood

Peggy Toy Maplewood

Aliyah Baruchin Maplewood

Fiona Chamness Newark

Foley Brett Fanwood

Charlotte Lindsay Newark

Ana Portnoy Brimmer Newark

Evan Shea Glen Gardner

Roger Drew Bloomfield

Sydney Choi Jersey City

Katherine Martini Hoboken

Maria Gomes Verona 

Hiba Qaraman Cranford

Isabella Garcia South Orange

Weston L. Richey Jersey City

Olivia Chung South Orange

Makenna Davis South Orange

Joyce Frommer Little Falls

Quinn Dunlea Manahwakin

Ronni Schwartz Maplewood

Charlotte Oliver Maplewood

Rayna Hirsch South Orange

Claire Lipkin Maplewood

Maddie Hughes Maplewood

Patricia Kelly Hamburg

Laura Anzul Morristown

Cynthia Mellon Newark

Meghan Gosselink South Orange

Diane Beeny Westfield

Gail Liebowitz Maplewood

Caroline Schmidt Jersey City

Whitney Strub Newark

Lia Collado Ridgewood

Irene Dunsavage Maplewood

Claire Dragon West Orange

Kelly Quirk Maplewood

Nancy Skinner New Vernon Maria Del Naja Maplewood

Sherry Sacks South Orange

Nate Hutchinson Hoboken

Danielle Tropea Maplewood

Cynthia Lamy Maplewood

Elizabeth Hahn Maplewood

Kristin Miller South Orange

Ogenna Oraedu South Orange

Eylana Garfinkle Livingston

Anna J. Brown, PhD Jersey City

Yael Webber Montclair

Sally Jane Gellert Woodcliff Lake

Nadia J. Rutkowski Hoboken

Terri Suess Union

Diane Moxley Garwood

Kathy O’Leary Millington

Jessica Leonard Plainfield

James Barna Plainfield

Nathaniel Cardona Plainfield

Jared Cotton Plainfield 


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