Lawyers for the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, who represent detainees in Hudson County, said this evening that they will take a neutral stance if the freeholders renew the county’s contract with ICE after asking them to continue the agreement in 2018.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“ICE detention is unjust and inhumane. It separates families, presents a public health crisis, diminishes the ability to fight against deportation, and reinforces a system that uses fear and abject cruelty as its principal tools … We are committed to realizing a world without ICE and without immigration detention,” the NYIFUP said in a statement.
While they acknowledged that they opposed the termination of the contract back in 2018, noting at the time that it would do more harm than good since it would hinder detainees ability to have legal representation, they are now taking a neutral approach.
” … In light of this uncertainty, the NYIFUP providers have decided to take no position on whether Hudson County should end its contract with ICE,” they said.
“No matter what Hudson County decides to do, as public defenders we will remain steadfast and committed to our core mission of fighting for freedom in every case and ensuring that every detained immigrant forced to navigate the deportation machine has a zealous public defender by their side.”
At last week’s board of chosen freeholders meeting, anti-ICE activists came out heavily against the renewal of the contract – which has been on the books in some form since 1996 – with nearly a 100 speakers participating in the public portion despite the item not being on the agenda.
Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise said in 2018, days after the freeholders renewed the contract at a rate of $120 per day, per detainee, that the county government would work to “phase out” the contract by the end of 2020 when the contract expires again.
However, earlier this month, DeGise told HCV that he was confident Joe Biden would win the presidency and that “we’ll have somebody that we can talk to” to discuss the next steps regarding the ICE deal.