Nearly two months after receiving approval from the state legislature, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has signed a bill banning New Jersey counties from entering into future agreements with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) into law.
Murphy signed bills A-5207/S-3361 today, which prohibits state and local entities, including counties, from entering into future agreements with ICE. He did not provide any statement or remarks to go along with the signing.
This makes New Jersey the fourth state to take this action, following California, Illinois, and Washington.
Prior to the legislature approving the bills on June 24th, the governor told HCV in May that he expected other counties to get out of their ICE deals after Essex County had proactively done so.
” … We are, by many measures, the most diverse state in America including a lot of newly arrived immigrant brothers and sisters and we want to treat them the way they deserve to be treated so it’s a good, positive step and my guess is we’ll see more,” he said at the time.
On Tuesday, Essex announced that they were no longer housing any ICE detainees after entering into an agreement with Union County to take in some of their prisoners, while Elizabeth renewed a deal with ICE for two years last week.
Bergen County also has an ongoing deal with ICE that does not have an expiration date, though they have committed not to taking in any new detainees.
Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise said in April, right after Essex announced their plans, that the county is “determined” to get out of their contractual obligations with ICE.
The Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders, now county commissioners, approved a new 10-year deal with ICE back in November at a marathon meeting where activists urged them not to do so.
DeGise, who faced protests at his home shortly after the vote that are still being discussed in an ongoing freedom of speech lawsuit, is now the only one with the ability to get the county out of the contract.
Progressive Democrats of Hudson County leader Hector Oseguera said that while he is pleased with the governor’s action today, the fight is far from over.
“It’s absolutely a step in the right direction; however, we still have to deal with the existing ICE contracts, like the one with Hudson County. I applaud the Governor for making the correct policy decision, but our fight continues.”
Hudson currently has 44 ICE detainees, according to their department of corrections.