Demonstrators block the door of Newark's Hall of Records building. Liberation News photo: Dallas Mitchell.

Demonstrators block the door of Newark’s Hall of Records building. Liberation News photo: Dallas Mitchell.

Deportations and ICE raids are a major issue in New Jersey, with ICE vans being sighted across Essex and Hudson counties especially. Newark was the site of two protests against Trump’s immigration policies, a militant blockade on June 29 and a demonstration of hundreds on June 30.

On June 29, people rallied outside the Newark Courthouse, carrying their signs calling for an end to the extremely harmful and unjust immigration laws that are putting in jail thousands of undocumented workers across the country. They were greeted by those driving by with horn honks of support.

Protesters then marched to the Hall of Records, which houses the office of Joe DiVincenzo, Essex County Executive.  Protesters demanded to speak with DiVicenzo and announced that they would block the door until he came to address their demands. These are:

  1. End the contract Essex county has with ICE to detain 800 immigrants arrested without charges, at a profit of $117 per-person-per-day, accounting for 5 percent of the overall Essex County budget.
  2. A guarantee from Joe DiVincenzo that Essex County will not work with ICE again.Taxes on the rich should pay for public services, not blood money.

Within minutes, well over a dozen police officers were at the scene and attacked the demonstration, shoving a 71-year-old man to the ground and then arresting him. Two other protesters were then arrested for being vocal about this brutality.

Soon after that action was broken up by police, five more protesters began blocking the door and were also arrested. Joe DiVincenzo never came to address either protesters or the press who filmed the assault. No protesters were critically harmed, and those arrested were released later that day. They vowed to continue to demonstrate until Essex County ends its contract with ICE.

Several hundred people rallied the next day at Newark’s City Hall as part of the national “Families Belong Together” initiative. Activists there came from across the state. Many people came from the Latino community, and there were many white protesters. People brought their families. There were unions, immigrant rights groups, left organizations, and many individuals.

Several Democratic Party politicians spoke, opposing immigrant family separation with the view that “this is not America, this is not who we are.” In contrast, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, which had a presence at both actions, takes the position that Trump’s immigration policies are part of what the U.S. is, and that U.S. racist aggression against oppressed people across the world has caused people to flee their homelands and migrate to the U.S. PSL signs in Spanish and English called for the abolition of ICE, a halt to all deportations and immigration raids, and full rights for immigrants.