Thirty-six activists were arrested on June 30th outside the Elizabeth Detention Center demanding elected officials close the camps at the border, defund ICE and CBP, and provide permanent protection for all undocumented immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. 

September 16, 2019, ELIZABETH, NJ—36 Jewish protesters appeared in court in Elizabeth, NJ today after being arrested on Sunday, June 30th while shutting down the road that provides access to the ICE Elizabeth Detention Center. The activists were with Never Again Action, which organized the protest alongside the immigrant-led group Movimiento Cosecha. The protestors sang Jewish prayers of healing and mourning to grieve for those who have fallen ill or lost their lives because of ICE and CBP’s inhumane policies.

[Photos and videos available here.]

All 36 pled guilty to a municipal ordinance violation of disturbing the peace and were ordered to pay $133 in fines. They all wore white in court, the Jewish color of mourning.

The June 30th action was the first in what has quickly become a nationwide movement. Since then, tens of thousands of Jews, immigrants, and allies have taken to the streets to protest the United States’ inhumane treatment of immigrants, drawing parallels to conditions in Nazi Germany that led to the Holocaust. There have been dozens of actions and hundreds of arrests in less than three months under the #JewsAgainstICE hashtag. Protesters are demanding an end to all detention and deportation and permanent protection for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

The 36 Never Again Action protesters arrested in New Jersey have released the following statement:

“Today, we face criminal charges for blocking the entrance to the Elizabeth Detention Facility which is operated by CoreCivic, a private prison company. But we know the real crimes are the ones being committed every day inside these ICE facilities. The detention of our neighbors in abusive, unlivable facilities like this one should upset all of us. As members of the Jewish community, we’ve seen this system of dehumanization before, and know that it extends well beyond the boundaries of any building. 

Informed by the experience of our ancestors in Ancient Egypt, Inquisition Spain, Nazi Germany and beyond, we are alarmed by the creation of a new scapegoated underclass. As the terror of ICE and CBP work to drive immigrant communities from full participation in civic life, we are compelled to use our community’s unique position to speak out. So let us be clear: we stand in solidarity with our immigrant neighbors, as allies, as leaders, as family. We will continue to join courageous groups like Cosecha who lead the way to oppose this system until everyone’s humanity is recognized, brutal detentions and deportations end, and all 11 million undocumented immigrants can live in dignity.”

[Please contact to request contact information for individual protesters available to speak to media.]

Movimiento Cosecha released the following statement after the action:

“Never again means never again. We are inspired by the Jewish community who sent a bold statement of solidarity rooted in their past struggles. As families continue to be separated, as children continue to be caged, and as thousands of immigrants are forced to make a life-threatening journey crossing borders out of desperation, every American should be called to stand up and take action. We must stand up for the thousands immigrants and refugees in detention and demand that our institutions stop profiting and collaborating with ICE. We must stand up alongside the millions of undocumented immigrants living in American cities and communities who wonder when they might be ripped away from their families as they continue to be criminalized. For the millions whose dignity has been ripped away and we're exiled from their loved ones through deportation. These times will not be defined by the actions of our enemies but rather the actions of those who feel compelled to do something and demand that immigrants be treated with dignity and respect.”


Never Again Action is a mass mobilization of Jews who are organizing to shut down ICE and hold the political establishment accountable for enabling both the deportation machine that has separated immigrant families across the U.S. for decades and the current crisis at the border.

We come together as a group of differently affiliated Jewish organizers, recognizing that we have seen this groundwork laid before. We understand it to be our community’s obligation to stand up when we see history repeat itself and to declare that Never Again means Never Again for anybody.


Movimiento Cosecha is a national movement to win permanent protection, dignity and respect for all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Alyssa Rubin