A judge has ruled in favor of Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise in granting temporary restraints that will hinder ICE protests in front of his home for the foreseeable future.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The order, issued by Hudson County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Jablonski this afternoon, prevents protesting or picketing in front of the county executive’s New York Avenue residence.
The order provides other specific parameters that include limiting protesting – which can’t exceed 10 people – to the corner of New York Avenue and Congress Street in the Jersey City Heights – the intersection closest to DeGise’s home.
Additionally, protesters cannot come with 200 feet of the county executive’s property, picketing can only occur between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., protests can only take place once every two weeks, and the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office must be notified 24 hours prior to the start of any protest, Jablonski’s order says.
Hector Oseguera, of the Progressive Democrats of Hudson County, said the decision to get the courts involved shows that their protests are having an impact.
“This shows that our protests are really getting to them. Shutting down free speech is something we expect out of Republicans like Donald Trump. We’ve only engaged in non-violent acts of civil disobedience,” he told HCV.
DeGise, who just said he has no plans to rescind the ICE contract in light of the protests – which began on Thursday – expectedly applauded the decision.
“Tonight, all of the protesters will be handed a copy of the judge’s order and told to disburse and we can finally have some peace and quiet,” he said.
Prior to the order being issued, HCV had reached out to a handful of elected officials who spoke against renewing the ICE contract seeking their opinions on the protests in front of the DeGise residence.
“Protests, generally, are just, but they should be fair and reasonable. Protesting at someone’s house after midnight is unreasonable. If they want to protest from 9 until 5 or 6 at night, that’s fine,” said Jersey City Freeholder Bill O’Dea (D-2), who voted against the contract renewal, as he did in 2018.
“But when you’re banging drums and chanting until midnight, people have a right to some peace and quiet – but it’s a thin line. If people want to stand in front of someone’s house all night, quietly, and not make any noise, that seems reasonable too.”
Jersey City Ward E Councilman James Solomon indicated that while public officials need to be able to deal with protesters in the midst of controversy, he also believes families should be left out of the fray.
“My basic principle is that public officials can and should be subjected to any form of protest and people’s families should always be kept out of it. When your protesting at someone’s home, it’s a tough line to draw because you’re incorporating people’s families,” he explained.
“I am sympathetic to the protesters though, who haven’t gotten any response or movement to their concerns and have already gone through all the proper channels. I understand their need to go for direct and sustained efforts to incorporate change.”
Hoboken council members Phil Cohen and Emily Jabbour, along with local Democratic committee Chair Rachel Hodes, declined to share their thoughts about the protests, but said they remain committed to seeing the ICE contract cancelled.
“We remain consistent in our message that Hudson County should not have a contract with ICE. We will continue to reach out to the Board of Freeholders and County Executive DeGise to help find a solution for the financial implications of ending the contract,” they said in a joint response.
“We hope that County Executive DeGise will take us up on our offer to sit together and have a productive conversation, hopefully leading to him exercising the 30-day contract cancellation option.”
Additionally, Freeholders Anthony Vainieri, Anthony Romano, Al Cifelli, Kenny Kopacz, and Caridad Rodriguez are also named as plaintiffs in the suit.
While the five aforementioned freeholders have not seen any picketing outside their homes, though Romano saw a holiday fundraiser protested last week which led to simple assault allegations (which he denies), they all voted yes on renewing the contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on November 24th.
They were also joined by Freeholder Jerry Walker (D-3) in the 6-3 vote, though he is not named as a plaintiff in the complaint.
Furthermore, Jablonsky is ordering the defendants to appear in court, which will likely be done virtually, to show cause on December 23rd at 11 a.m.
The defendants named are Amy Torres, one of the women who filed a complaint against Romano, Stacey Gregg, Kason Little, Marisa Budnick, Anand Sarwate, and John Does and Jane Roes 1 through 20.