Unitarian Universalists in New Jersey Urge Homeland Security to Make Immigrant Detention More Humane
By Mel Fabrikant Tuesday, April 29 2014 @ 04:00 PM EDT
Unitarian Universalists in New Jersey, organized by the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey (UULMNJ), have sent XXX letters to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, urging the Secretary to better enforce Obama Administration policies regarding the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants.
The Obama Administration has deported far more persons than the Bush Administration ever did, yet the Administration has said it wants to focus on deporting mostly those undocumented immigrants with criminal records (called "prosecutorial discretion"). New Jersey actually has far less prosecutorial discretion than most other states -- 2.8% of cases compared with 6.6% nationwide.
Similarly, the Unitarian Universalists urged the DHS Secretary to enforce policies regarding using more alternatives to detention and better treatment in detention centers. A report in 2012 showed that the Essex County detention centers are in violation of DHS policies concerning medical attention, food services, access to legal counsel and visitors, and available religious services.
"These letters show our fellow New Jerseyan, the new Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, that we care about how immigrants are being treated. A few of them will be deported, but we should never forget that when we deport someone we are breaking up families, leaving children without their parents, and disturbing economic support systems in communities throughout our state," said UULMNJ Executive Director, the Rev. Craig Hirshberg.
The Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey was organized five years ago to give Unitarian Universalists in New Jersey a comprehensive structure for non-partisan activism on public issues. It works for a socially just public policy in areas like the environment, housing, education, criminal justice, and immigration. It is a statewide network of the 21 Unitarian Universalist congregations in New Jersey.
Unitarian Universalism is a non-creedal religious faith that is based in seven principles and purposes. It is a historic faith in the United States that encourages individuals to come to their own beliefs on ultimate questions of faith but enables them to work together in faith with communities in love, seeking to build the Beloved Community.
For more information, contact Rev. Craig Hirshberg, 908-377-3034