On October 23rd, the Essex County freeholders announced to much self-congratulation the creation of a civilian task force to oversee conditions at Essex County Correctional Facility, which contracts with ICE to hold 800 immigrant detainees and has rightly been referred to as a concentration camp.
While more transparency is always a good thing, we should not lose sight of what this task force will not do: end the ICE contract and close the camp. Civilian oversight may lead to improved conditions for detainees, but this should not be mistaken for victory. A more humane jail is better than a jail in which inmates are sexually assaulted and served rotten food, but this should not be confused with justice.
The fact of the matter is Essex County has no business working with ICE, period. If you were outraged at the contract in October, you should still be outraged now. We can’t let this task force become an excuse to stop fighting, and I urge you to get involved with one of the groups that are still fighting to end the contract like Cosecha, DSA, and Never Again Action, to name a few. Let the freeholders know we will accept no compromises.