The Center of Immigration Law, Policy, and Justice held its inaugural event of The Colloquium on Sanctuary: “The Silent Deception of Newark’s “Sanctuary” Status”, on September 26, 2018. This interdisciplinary lecture series will examine the cultural and political meaning of “sanctuary laws” policies and practices. The event, “The Silent Deception of Newark’s “Sanctuary” Status” focused specifically on Professor Mary Rizzo’s and Professor Whitney Strubb’s research and advocacy regarding the detention of Immigrants in county jails in Newark, New Jersey.
Both Professor Rizzo and Professor Strubb have publically shed light on the nature of Newark’s contradictory self-proclaimed “Sanctuary Status” which houses nearly 700 detainees inside the county jail within the city’s limits. The detainees are housed in harsh and inhumane conditions. This is a result of Essex County’s contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) signed in 2011. Although Newark does not have a direct contract with ICE, mechanism such as data-sharing with ICE, result in ICE agents wondering freely through the city of Newark rendering the term “sanctuary city” moot.
The discussants advocate and wish to see Newark push back against any contracts with ICE as other cities have around the country. Sacramento, for instance, ended its contract with ICE this past June. Although many Newark residents refuse to be complicit in Newark’s actions and, have expressed their opposition to the City’s collaboration with ICE. Their concerns are often left unaddressed at county freeholders meetings.
This lecture engaged the Rutgers community in a Q&A session with Professor Rizzo and Professor Strubb. One question expressed similar concerns as those held by The American Friends Service Committee’s Immigrant Rights Program. AFSC and other advocates are concerned that the closing of county detention facilities will result in immigrant families being separated. Although the solutions to this complex problem are up for debate. What many advocates agree on is that the most effective way of fighting “the detention and deportation machine” is by pulling institutional support away from ICE.
The fascinating and eye opening event was co-sponsored and promoted by The Rutgers Immigrant Rights Collective who created and distributed a “Call to Action” which advocated for the termination of the county’s controversial collaboration with ICE. The CILPJ will present the next lecture on The Colloquium on Sanctuary: “Providing Sanctuary for Immigrant Families” on Wednesday October 10, 2018.