Stop ICE Detentions and Abuse!

[NOTE: The Middlesex County government cancelled its contract to hold ICE detainees since this was written. However, the same system continutes to operate at other locations and The Nation recently reported that secret detention centers are also used by ICE]

The Issue

Governments have created lines on maps, usually through military action, to designate who controls what turf. Political class control of the global economy has intentionally caused wealth to be concentrated in the hands of established and connected interests at the expense of those who produce it. Borders serve as a means of cementing the international status quo, another impediment to economic well-being for millions of people.

Naturally, enterprising and desperate folks go to lengths to circumvent these gross infringements on liberty. The borders of the United States are now being fortified against these workers and entrepreneurs.

In 1996, the United States government passed the "Illegal Immigration Reforms and Immigrant Responsibility Act," which established a system of detention without due process for anyone caught violating immigration restrictions. The blank check that government claimed from September 11 brought a significant increase in state terrorism against immigrants. Workplace raids and widespread abusive detention without due process are offshoots of the growing police state that seeks to monitor all movement in order to secure the power of rulers and get their supporters rich.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a federal agency that abducts people from their workplaces or takes them into custody from police for the non-crime of being on the wrong side of a geographic boundary without the proper paperwork. Many ICE detainees have no criminal charges against them. The Middlesex County government receives millions of federal tax dollars to house people detained by I.C.E in the county prison.

The Human Consequences

Over 150 ICE detainees are being held by Middlesex County authorities alone. According to New Jersey Civil Rights Defense Committee, "On March 2nd [2008] a Middlesex County detainee died from what was seen as medical neglect by over 90 detainee witnesses. Their petitions to protest his death, as well as conditions in Middlesex County detention generally, resulted in no more than retaliatory transfer to other jails."

In August 2008, Jason Ng was killed in custody in New England by his captors' unwillingness to provide sufficient medical care for his cancer and broken spine. A man who was detained solely for immigration paperwork infractions, he left behind a wife and two sons.

There are documented reports of widespread verbal and physical abuse, denial of medical care, interference with religious practices, and inhumanly crowded and unhealthy conditions in facilities housing ICE detainees. Dozens of detainees have died in custody. There is no official accountability, and the nearly complete lack of consequences for the abuse of detainees can be regarded as evidence that such mistreatment is an integral part of the system. For details, see Voices of the Disappeared, a report by the New Jersey Civil Rights Defense Committee.

Middlesex County freeholders have shown their preference for federal tax money over human rights, and have therefore made themselves accomplices to these crimes. Also directly responsible are Jon Corzine for ignoring the pleas of New Jersey residents to stop the detentions, and the Bush and Clinton administrations for upholding the gulag system of denying justice. It must be stressed that immigrant detentions are simply one ugly arm of the expanding surveillance state, which secures political elites at the expense of the general populace.

What NJ Alliance of the Libertarian Left Does

We raise public awareness of the issue, the human consequences, and the means available to combat oppression. We hope to create a political climate in which abduction and detention of peaceable individuals for non-crimes is unfeasible.

What You Can Do

Support New Jersey Alliance of the Libertarian Left and distribute our literature on the issue.

Support NJ Civil Rights Defense Committee.

Consider the human needs both of detainees and of individuals facing potential abduction by ICE.

Persuade political leaders to stop allowing the detention of people for non-crimes.

Champion the individual against statism, racism, and xenophobia at every opportunity.

Encourage people to disassociate personally and economically with anybody known to be responsible for detainee abuse until restitution is made.

Understand that to politicians, political power is much more important than the liberty of individuals or the well-being of communities that are not politically connected. There are interrelated structural, economic, and psychological reasons why this is the case. Therefore, the only long term solution is to dismantle the state. No union with tyrants!