Hudson freeholders to hold special meeting on ICE contract at county courthouse

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The Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders have adjusted their regularly scheduled October 11th meeting so that their vote on phasing out the county’s agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be held at the county courthouse. 

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Right now, we’ve had an ICE contract for the last 15 years. Some people think we meant to sneak it in over the summer, so now we’re giving people a larger venue,” Freeholder Chair Vainieri (D-8) told Hudson County View over the phone this morning.

“In the event it doesn’t pass, the new freeholder board will vote again in January 2021. Right now, we have a path to exit by 2020.”

Vainieri added that the board made the decision at last night’s meeting, agreeing to break up their October 11th session into two separate parts: they will convene at the freeholders chambers at 4 p.m. to vote on their regular agenda and then head to the county courthouse, 595 Newark Ave., at 6 p.m. solely to vote on the ICE contract.

Specifically, the freeholders will convene in the jury assembly room on the 4th floor. The measure to hold the special meeting was approved by a vote of 7-0, with Freeholders Kenny Kopacz (D-1) and Jerry Walker (D-3) absent.

Vainieri also said that while he understands the passion activists have for this issue, it has prevented other members of the community from speaking out on unrelated issues – something that can be remedied by splitting up the agenda and having a venue change.

While last night’s meeting was a tepid affair, with few public speakers and the session being adjourned in less than an hour, the freeholders faced some flak from immigration advocates earlier this month since they don’t want to wait until 2020 before the county is out of their agreement with ICE.

Hours before the annual fall gala of the Hudson County Democratic Organization at the beginning of the month, County Executive Tom DeGise announced that his administration would be phasing out their deal with ICE, expecting termination by late 2020.