Just Say No! ICE Contract with Essex County Jail Has To Go!
US Democratic Primary Congressional Candidate John Flora (NJ-10) has a clear message for leadership in Essex County.
“We are a sanctuary state, not a detention state,” said Flora. This comment comes in response to the Essex County Freeholders’ recent decision to approve the creation of a civilian task force to oversee the Essex County Correctional Facility. “We need to stop housing ICE detainees in Newark. It has succeeded more in tearing families apart than in finding criminals or making our neighborhoods safer.”
Flora is well aware that Essex County has received over $2 million dollars from ICE for their facilities to hold ICE captives. ICE has the power to hold people without proper justification simply due to immigration status or allegations.
“This issue shouldn’t be decided by revenue,” said Flora. “Our country touts the idea of family values on one hand, and then destroys them with the other. As a new father and teacher of immigrant children, I find this practice abhorrent.”
The Jersey City teacher has experienced the result of broken families in his daily work. Flora believes this panel is a waste of time and resources. He directly challenges the County Executive Joey DiVincenzo’s recent comments: “Creating the Civilian Task Force is an example of what we can accomplish when people with different perspectives work together.” But Flora believes that “Families aren’t separated when different perspectives work together.” DiVincenzo’s statement that “My goal…is to operate a safe and professionally run jail” was also challenged. Flora had the following to say: “I can’t see anything ‘safe’ and ‘professional’ about keeping children from their parents?”
Local protestors have responded that creating a citizen board is really just a distraction. “The real issue at hand is whether or not we even want an ICE center in our district,” said Flora.
Flora is set to run in the Democratic Primary as a replacement for long time incumbent Donald Payne Jr in New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District. Before being elected to Congress, while serving as an Essex County Freeholder, Donald Payne voted in favor of a new contract with ICE that constituted a massive expansion of immigration detention in Essex County and in NJ. The new contract meant that 1250 immigrants would be held in the Essex County Jail and the neighboring privately run Delaney Hall as a favor for ICE.
“We need to protect families,” said Flora, “regardless of where they came from.”