NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Several organizations from the city and beyond will band together Friday to call for the closure of ICE detention centers in the state.
The Lights For Liberty Rally will start at the intersection of Albany and George streets at 6:30 p.m.
Central Jersey Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is co-sponsoring the protest along with groups including ACLU People Power - Middlesex, Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War, Central Jersey Progressive Democrats, D.I.R.E., ICNA Council For Social Justice, Lazos America Unida, New Labor, Reformed Church of Highland Park and the Unitarian Society.
The DSA issued a statement late Wednesday in which it said it has helped organize the rally to demand "the closure of the four New Jersey detention centers in Elizabeth, Hudson County, Essex County, and Bergen County."
According to a statement issued by members of the Islamic Circle of North America - Council For Social Justice, a Somerset County-based group that will be taking part in the protest, they "stand by migrants and condemn their inhumane treatment by the government, especially migrant children." According to the statement, the camps in Union, Hudson, Essex and Bergen counties could hold up to 2,000 detainees on any given day.
According to the Department of Homeland Security's website, there are six detention sites in New Jersey.
The nearest Immigration and Custom Enforcement detention center to New Brunswick, the one in Elizabeth, was in the news last week after 36 people were detained and transported to police headquarters for blocking the entrances to the center.
Many of the protestors who were arrested were from a group called Never Again: Jews Against ICE Week Of Action, which organized the protest and compared conditions at detention centers to the Holocaust-era concentration camps.
The DSA said that many of the people who end up in the ICE detention centers have fled their homes in Latin America and are looking for freedom from poverty and gang violence.
According to the statement, "Unfortunately, the reality of America’s attitude towards immigrants is a lot different than the mythology. The history of immigration in the United States is a history of racist immigration laws, selective restrictions and virulent xenophobic nativism. It is no surprise that the migrants coming into the country nowadays are being met with hostility both from the administration and from large segments of the population."
A march is planned for Saturday at 11 a.m. in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
On July 2, the New Brunswick City Council approved a request for use of the city's sidewalks for the march that will begin at the Easton Avenue entrance of Buccleuch Park. The march is scheduled to continue down Easton to the train station.
Many young people who came to the United States as children were protected under DACA, but the Trump administration announced in 2017 that it was going to rescind the program. That has left about 700,000 in legal limbo. Many face possible deportation.