Photo: Essex County, NJ Detention Center
Lawmakers in Newark are proposing that they renovate an existing county jail so that it can hold more undocumented immigrants than it does now.
Federal officials have given provisional permission to the plans and have commented on the fact that the new center would provide a less harsh background for those who are only being detained due to the fact that they are not legal residents of the US but have committed no other crimes.
Detainees at the new center would have increased access to medical care, as well as greater federal influence. This is a major stride for the Obama administration who vowed in 2009 to improve conditions for those being detained for immigration charges, nothing else.
Prior to this plan, independent companies that were reimbursed by federal agencies ran detention centers. There were also allegations of unjust treatment of those being detained, with one report of a death in a Rhode Island center where a man was allegedly abused and denied medical care.