state:
New Jersey
Local history:
"Seeking Asylum, Resisting Detention"
How can detained immigrants and asylees fight back?
Rutgers University-Newark | American Friends Service Committee’s Immigrant Rights Program
Exhibiting Partner:
Project for Empty Space
2 Gateway Center, Newark, NJ 07102-5005
October 18, 2017December 15, 2017

Stay tuned!

States of Incarceration is coming to New York, West Virginia, and North Carolina in Spring 2020!

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New Jersey: "Seeking Asylum, Resisting Detention"
How can detained immigrants and asylees fight back?
Rutgers University-Newark | American Friends Service Committee’s Immigrant Rights Program

In the mid-1990s, as concerns about terrorism and growing numbers of asylum seekers rose, the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) contracted Esmor Correctional Services to open a detention facility in Elizabeth, NJ. After detainees’ complaints about inhumane conditions and a hunger strike were ignored, nearly 100 detainees, mostly men from Africa, “rioted" in June 1995, breaking furniture and windows. An assessment by INS discovered that “detainees were subjected to harassment, verbal abuse, and other degrading actions perpetrated by Esmor guards” who had been poorly trained and supervised. Soon after, Somalian asylum seeker Hawa Jama and 9 other detainees became plaintiffs in Jama v. Esmor Correctional Services, the first time detainees were given the right to sue a private corporation. The 2007 settlement awarded damages to the plaintiffs. The hunger strike, uprising and lawsuit illustrate ways that detainees have protested the conditions of their detention.

Our Point of View

Most of us came to this project with little knowledge about immigrant detention. We were shocked and dismayed to learn that less than 6 miles from our campus, more than 300 people were being held daily. Our panel attempts to highlight the voices and agency of detainees while examining how privatization, race, and the law have shaped the detention system in this country.

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New Jersey: "Seeking Asylum, Resisting Detention"    Rutgers University-Newark
How can detained immigrants and asylees fight back?
New Jersey: "Seeking Asylum, Resisting Detention"
How can detained immigrants and asylees fight back?
  Rutgers University-Newark

National Exhibition Venue    Project for Empty Space

Public Dialogues and Events
| October 18 – December 15, 2017

See Full Exhibition & Events Schedule
“I complained personally to every INS person, every Esmor official...I come to this country to save my life, to ask asylum. And they put me in jail, hell. I can describe hell...Esmor was hell.”  — Hawa Jama
“I fear the police more than I fear being the victim of a crime.”  — Exhibition Visitor

Local Issue Partner:

American Friends Service Committee’s Immigrant Rights Program

Events:

Date: 
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Date: 
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Date: 
Monday, November 13, 2017

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