Protest against the persecution of migrants to held tonight at jail in Goshen
Goshen. Local rabbis call upon the community to stand up to the detention of undocumented migrants in Orange County Correctional Facility. Sheriff's Office says that while border facilities are "overwhelmed," detainees are not being mistreated in Orange C
Editor's note: This story has been updated with a response from the Sheriff's Office.
A rally will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. tonight, Monday, July 8, at the Orange County Correctional Facility, 110 Wells Farm Road, Goshen, to protest the treatment of refugees by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The protest being organized by the local Jewish community in cooperation with Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, an advocacy group "made up of members, predominantly working-class people of color, who fight around the issues that most deeply affect our community while challenging the systems of power at the root of these problems," according to its Facebook page.
Leading the protest will be Rabbi Marcus Rubenstein of Temple Sinai in Middletown, Rabbi Rebecca Shinder of Temple Beth Shalom of Florida, and Rachel Rubenstein Rabbi Rachel Rubenstein, executive director Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County.
Rabbi Marcus Rubenstein says the Orange County government is making money by housing detainees at the jail, and is calling on the community to stop this. Under-Sheriff Kenneth Jones said the migrants are being detained according to the law, and that while border facilities are "overwhelmed," the Orange County jail is "one of the most accredited jails in the country."
Rabbi Marcus Rubenstein posted the following statement on Facebook:
"Like many of our neighbors, the Jewish Community of Orange County, NY is horrified by what is happening here and across the country. Please join us as we actualize the most basic tenets of our history, tradition, faith and culture in stating that we will not stand for the persecution of refugees. Do you watch the news in horror as babies and children are tortured under inhumane living conditions for seeking a better life in our country? Do you know or have empathy for the families around Orange County (and across the country) who are in fear for their families, experiencing great trepidation to leave their homes, for fear of ICE capture? Have you yearned to take action to stand up to the policies of this administration that have led to terrorism against the immigrant community in America not just talk about it? If you answered yes to any of these questions come join and protest with us this coming Monday at the ICE detention facility in Goshen NY. The county government makes money by selling/renting spots at this jail to the federal government to capture and imprison ICE victims. Let's stand up and tell our government that we don't want that here! Let's make sure the world knows that the Jewish Community of Orange County and the many good people of the Hudson Valley will not let this happen on our watch! Please bring signs and tell your friends!
"'The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.' Leviticus 19:34"
Under-Sheriff Kenneth Jones said in a statement that while the Sheriff’s Office "respects the right of people to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances," the organizers are "utilizing language that is inconsistent with facts. The use of the words torture and terrorism, for example, to describe legal actions taken by the government of the United States is disingenuous at best."
His statement continues:
"Any person being detained by ICE and housed within the (Orange County Correctional Facility) is there as part of the legal process established by law. Most of the detainees have committed crimes within the United States separate and apart from the crime of illegally crossing into the United States, some are subject to active judicial deportation orders as a result thereof. The OCCF is one of the most accredited jails in the United States and the Sheriff’s Office takes exception to any suggestion that any detainee is mistreated or neglected in any way. The policies, procedures and conditions of the housing have been repeatedly reviewed by independent accreditors with no violations cited over a period of years of operations.
"Every American is or should be aware of the crisis at our southern border. The federal facilities available in that region have been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of illegal crossings. The Sheriff’s Office suggests that those persons that are genuinely concerned with the housing conditions of detained persons should be supportive that the federal government chose one of the most accredited jails in the country to house some of their detainees.
"If the Orange County Government chose to discontinue housing federal detainees, it would not result in the release of those detainees. It would result in many detainees being transferred from one of the most accredited jails in the country to a facility that is not so."
Overcrowding in Texas
A government watchdog office last week reported severe overcrowding in Texas' Rio Grande Valley, a busy corridor for illegal crossings. The report said children at three facilities had no access to showers and that some young children had been jammed in centers for more than two weeks.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for the firing of Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of the federal Customs and Border Protection Agency. He said the reports of migrants' plight and the Facebook group "paint a picture of a toxic culture" and said Morgan and other agency leaders "are too callous about the way in which children and their families are treated."
Morgan took the agency's top post in the last week, after then-acting Commissioner John Sanders resigned amid an outcry over the revelation that children were being held in miserable conditions at one of the agency's Texas facilities.
Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson's advocacy work was reported in The New York Times on June 30: nyti.ms/2G1AGFB.