Unanimous Vote by the Jersey City City Council Calls on Hudson County to Terminate Detention Contract with ICE
On Wednesday August 15th, 2018, the Jersey City City Council unanimously passed (8-0 vote, Councilman Boggiano absent) a resolution calling on Hudson County to terminate its detention contract with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE). Sponsored by Council President Rolando Lavarro, Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey, and Ward E Councilman James Solomon, the resolution highlights the litany of abuses committed and culture of fear generated by ICE.
“As a city of immigrants, with over 40% of our population born in another country, Jersey City will resist the culture of fear generated by the Trump Administration’s war on immigrants,” said Council President Lavarro. “Hudson County’s detention contract with ICE is essentially tacit approval of this war. The Council is calling upon the County to reject this aggression on our immigrant family by withdrawing from this contract urgently.”
Councilman Solomon echoed those remarks: “Jersey City is America’s Golden Door. We have a special responsibility to do everything in our power to fight back against the demonization of immigrants in this country. The County’s contract with ICE should end.”
Councilwoman Priny-Arey added: “We must call attention to the conditions where detainees are held here in our county. It is crucial for Hudson County to terminate the contract immediately.”
The resolution pledged the assistance of Jersey City to Hudson County to address any impact on employment the loss of the bed contract would generate. The text of the resolution is below.
WHEREAS, the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders voted to renew a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on July 12, 2018 to house federal prisoners at its Correctional facility;
WHEREAS, ICE indiscriminately targets undocumented immigrants, including “Dreamers” and long-term residents who are pillars of their communities, including in a Jersey City;
WHEREAS, ICE’s “zero tolerance” policies have sent shockwaves of fear through immigrant communities, worsening relations between law enforcement and the communities that they serve;
WHEREAS, ICE agents have repeatedly violated the human rights of immigrants including alleged sexual and physical assaults and have been infiltrated by white nationalists including the New Jersey ICE office;
WHEREAS, ICE has widely been denounced for inhumane policies that result in tearing immigrant families apart. Thousands of parents have been separated from their children, many of whom have yet to be reunited notwithstanding a judicial order directing that they be reunited;
WHEREAS, many of the immigrants detained at the ICE facilities are seeking refuge and asylum from religious persecution, sexual violence, death threats, gang violence, and other threats to their lives;
WHEREAS, Hudson County has a contract with ICE to house individuals who have been detained by ICE;
WHEREAS, Hudson County did not provide the public with meaningful dialogue about that contract before it was voted on, with Hudson County Freeholders Joel Torres and William O’Dea expressing concern that sufficient time was not provided to review the contract;
WHEREAS, immigrant advocates in New Jersey have criticized the ICE bed contract renewal;
WHEREAS, the Hudson County Correctional Facility has been repeatedly criticized for the conditions under which detainees are held;
WHEREAS, Hudson County should take measurable steps and training to ensure the dignity and humane treatment of all detainees and inmates including medical services, access to counsel and family members;
WHEREAS, the City of Jersey City stands willing to partner with Hudson County to employ any county worker whose job may be at risk if the ICE detention contract is terminated;
WHEREAS, the Municipal Council of the City of Jersey City believes that the use of immigration detention is unnecessary and inhumane, and separates families and communities.
NOW BE IT THEREFORE that the Municipal Council of the City of Jersey City urges:
- the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders immediately to initiate the opt-out clause to terminate Hudson County’s contract with ICE related to housing individuals who have been detained by ICE at the Hudson County Correctional facility located in Kearny, New Jersey.
- the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders and Hudson County government to partner with immigrant advocates on any future actions related to immigrants;
- the Newark and New York ICE Field Office to exercise discretion to allow New York and New Jersey immigrant residents to stay with their family and community while filing for immigration relief.