Protesters Plan Elizabeth Detention Center Demonstration

ELIZABETH—Protesters plan to demonstrate against what they call unjust US policies by walking from Ellis Island, once a gateway to America for millions of newcomers from all over the world, to the immigration detention center in Elizabeth where at least one person has died awaiting judicial action and deportation.

“The idea of this event is to tie together the myth of Ellis Island that people associate as a symbol of our immigration system with the reality of the immigration detention center in Elizabeth and the other county jails and detention centers like it throughout the country,” said Kathy O’Leary, an event organizer.


Planners will be meeting on Dec. 6 at St. Joe’s Social Center at 118 Division Street, in Elizabeth, immediately following the Stamp Out Despair Packing Party. The public is invited to arrive by 2:30 p.m. or as early as 1:30 if interesting in helping pack stationery and stamps for the Elizabeth detention centers detainees.

So far six people have signed up to walk the 10 mile route, which will take protesters from Liberty State Park, where they will assemble in front of Ellis Island foot bridge on Wednesday, Feb. 17, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., to the Elizabeth Detention Center in time for the annual Ash Wednesday Vigil scheduled for 6 p.m.

In other parts of the state, immigration reform supporters plan to hold mid-day vigils emphasizing target congressional districts of 2, 3, 4 & 7
The protest is being organized and supported by Sister of Mercy of the Mid-Atlantic Justice Office, IRATE & First Friends, Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry, NJIPN, Wind of the Spirit and The Center for Community Change.

Hundreds of undocumented immigrants are being held in the private, for-profit prison on Evans Street, just off Dowd Avenue in Elizabeth.
To sign up as a participant, visit

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