Several executive members of the Hoboken Democratic Committee are calling on the Hudson County government to adopt a no-profit deal with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“The Hoboken Democratic Party welcomes Freeholder Chairman Vainieri’s belated effort to be transparent about the circumstances of the ICE immigrant detainees’ detention at the Hudson County Correctional Facility after having voted to approve the contract with ICE last month,” HDC Exec. Committee members Phil Cohen, Nora DeBenedetto, Eileen Carvalho and and Rachel Hodes said in a joint statement.
“Unfortunately, it took public outrage against the Freeholders’ rush through a July 12 afternoon meeting for its ICE contract vote for Chairman Vainieri to recognize that the public was entitled to learn about the issues, and maybe even read the contract.”
Board of Chosen Freeholders Chair Anthony Vainieri (D-8) put out a lengthy statement yesterday calling the Kearny jail facility “safe, modern, clean and professionally managed,” noting that immigrants will continue to be detained as long as Donald Trump is president.
While a small media tour was convened at the jail on Tuesday (HCV did not attend since cameras and cell phones are not permitted at the correctional facility), the HDC members imply that they believe the event was staged for the sake of some good press on the controversial issue.
“Leaders of the Hoboken Democratic Committee would like the ability to drop in unannounced and visit the Hudson County Facility during general visiting hours, so that they can tour the facility on an ordinary day, rather than on a pre-planned show visit for the media, freeholders and local leaders,” the group continued.
They were also critical of Vainieri asking detainees if they were content with being held in Kearny, as opposed to say Montana, since Hudson County residents were never asked if they wanted to profit of Trump’s immigration policies.
According to multiple county sources, the recently approved $22 million agreement with ICE has been on the books for decades and nets the county a profit of about eight or nine million dollars.
While the HDC members acknowledge the deal may be necessary at this time, it can certainly be amended to be more amicable for all parties involved.
“Finally, we welcome a transparent dialogue as to what the profit margin is for Hudson County’s ICE contract, as we understand that Hudson County has a perverse incentive to house as many of these detainees as possible for budgetary reasons,” they stated.
“We believe that a no-profit contract is the only kind of contract with ICE that is acceptable to the residents of Hudson County.”
Vainieri declined to respond to the latest criticisms from the HDC.
The board of chosen freeholders meets at their chambers, 567 Pavonia Ave. in Jersey City, today at 1 p.m.