With Hudson set to exit ICE contract, NYIFUP calls for release, not transfer, of detainees

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With Hudson County set to exit their contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) this fall, the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project is calling for the release, not transfer, of detainees.

A protest outside the Hudson County Correctional Facility on December 15th, 2020.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“ICE enforcement and detention is racist, unnecessary, and dangerous. It tears families apart, inflicts lifelong trauma, deprives people of basic human rights and needs, and it kills,” NYIFUP said in a joint statement.

“With Hudson County exiting its contract with ICE, there will be one fewer jail in which ICE can incarcerate people simply because of where they were born. The end of this contract represents an important first step, but true victory will result in ending ICE detention nationwide. ICE retains discretion to detain and release individuals, although immigration enforcement is a civil not criminal matter.”

They also called on county and federal leaders, specifically U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-NJ) – who spoke out against the contract at the end of last year – to join the effort to have detainees released to their families.

Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise revealed on Friday that the county planned on exiting the ICE contract by November 1st, as The Jersey Journal first reported, making up the monetary loss with a pilot re-entry program that would receive at least $7 million from state funds.

The Hudson County Board of Commissioners, then still freeholders, renewed their ICE contract in November despite over nine hours of public comment opposing the move, as HCV first reported.

A week before that meeting, the NYIFUP, which includes representations from the The Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services, and The Bronx Defenders, took a neutral stance in regards to the renewal of the deal.

Last month, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed a bill into law prohibiting future county agreements with ICE, though it did not halt or hinder ongoing agreements like the ones in Bergen, Hudson, and Union Counties.

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