Hudson County and New York City officials joined an activist group in calling on the board of chosen freeholders to end their deal with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during a press conference held on Zoom this morning.
” … We’re called detainees, but we’re treated like stacks from the hoods that’s doing time from gun violence! Donna Maria, the 60-year-lady, who came to this country 30 years ago she gets treated the same way as a gang banger going on trial for shooting people,” said Clara Rodriguez Torres, a former detainee at the Hudson County Correctional Facility.
The virtual event was hosted by the Abolish ICE NY & NJ Coalition just ahead of the freeholder meeting that started at 1 p.m. and is expected to last for hours.
At the meeting, the board will decide whether or not to renew their agreement with ICE, which currently nets the county $120 per detainee, per day.
Freeholder Bill O’Dea (D-2), who voted no on the latest contract renewal in 2018, again reiterated that he’s sticking to his guns on this one.
“While there have been physical improvements at this facility, that does not change that we should not be in this business, it’s wrong,” O’Dea said, also indicating that the contract is no longer viable with detainees at the jail now in the dozens as opposed to hundreds.
Yesterday, New York City Councilman Carlos Menchacha, the chair of the immigration committee, and seven of his colleagues – along with and six New York state legislators – signed a letter asked the Hudson freeholders not to renew their ICE agreement yet again.
“We are here as a city of incredible advocates really fighting for solidarity to cancel this contract: we’re really on our march towards abolishing ICE,” Menchacha said on the call.
Also joining them were Jersey City Councilmen Rolando Lavarro and James Solomon, who were two of the five sitting council members who came out last night urging the freeholders to vote down another contract extension.
“The goal is to gain money for housing human beings in our county and use that money to fund government patronage, to fund jobs that have a political interest … that’s simply wrong,” Solomon explained.
The event was co-moderated by Amy Torres of the Hudson County Progressive Alliance, and June Mekong, of the aforementioned Abolish ICE coalition.
Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise is facing scrutiny after announcing the ICE agreement would be “phased out” shortly after the renewal in 2018, but he told HCV earlier this month that he would be open to negotiating with a President Joe Biden administration.
Those wishing to watch and/or participate in the freeholder meeting can click here.