Call for Full Senate Floor Vote on S3361

NJ Immigrants’ Rights Advocates Call for Full Senate Floor Vote on S3361 to Prohibit New, Renewal, Expansion of ICE Detention Contracts Before Legislature Takes Summer Recess


S3361 passed the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. Advocates call for a full Senate Floor vote with less than 10 days left before Summer Recess.


Newark, NJ --Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021--The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ) and member organizations applaud the passage of S3361 in the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee, following yesterday’s full passage of companion bill A5207 on the Assembly floor.

This week’s developments are promising, but advocates caution that the bill must happen before summer recess in order to effectively prevent new ICE agreements from happening over the summer and early fall. Multiple local and county contractors have indicated a willingness to close or wind down existing agreements beginning in April this year, and over 40 leading immigrants rights, legal services, and justice organizations sent an endorsement letter to State leadership on Friday urging swift passage. 

“Today’s committee vote sends a clear message: whether at the local level or in the halls of Trenton, the state’s doors are closing to ICE. But the urgency to get S3361 passed and signed into law in the coming week has never been higher — each day that this legislation is not yet law is another day for ICE to attempt a new agreement in New Jersey. S3361 must be voted on the floor and signed into law before summer,” said Amy Torres, Executive Director of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. 

As recently as last October, ICE solicited interest from entities in New Jersey and New York to greatly expand detention capacity in the region, with the proposed creation of 900-1800 new beds. A similar request was issued in the Philadelphia field office, potentially affecting South Jersey. In response, NJAIJ, a state-wide coalition of 44 faith, labor, policy, community-based, and grassroots organizations, has fought for S3361 and A5207 as part of their “Fair & Welcoming Platform” to ban new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention contracts, including renewals or expansions.

NJAIJ members, which include legal services providers who counsel on detention and deportation defense, have long raised the alarm that new ICE contracts would not only be devastating to new families separated under cruel enforcement policies, but overwhelm the existing capacity of providers and organizations who fight for immigrants to be released. Hunger strikes, vigils, and release campaigns have heightened over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, as far too many immigrants in New Jersey detention were subject to infection, permanent injury, and even death: 

Banan Abdelrahman, Campaign Coordinator with the American Friends Service Committee Immigrant Rights Program said, 

"The Senate must vote to pass this before June 30th. This bill has support from all sectors including legal service providers like AFSC. People detained inside currently call me regularly in fear that they'll never see their loved ones and wonder why they have to face this 'just because we were born in the wrong country.’ To them, this bill means a lot more than we can imagine.¨ 

Despite vaccination rates increasing with the general public, COVID-19 infection and spread continue unabated in ICE detention centers across the nation. New agreements in New Jersey would further subject immigrant families and local communities to harm.
Community organizations and advocates also weighed in, urging:

CharleneWalker, Executive Director of Faith in New Jersey said,

“Faith in New Jersey applauds the Senate Budget and Appropriations committee for listening to their constituents by voting in support of S3361. This is a much needed step toward easing the concerns of our families that fear the impact of a growing presence of ICE in New Jersey. As such we urge the Senate to move this bill for a floor vote immediately so Governor Murphy can make this bill a reality before the legislature breaks for the summer.”


Ami Kachalia, Campaign Strategist with the ACLU-NJ said,  

“New Jersey must act now to end its complicity in an immigration detention system that enables family separation and is rife with civil and human rights abuses. We thank the Senate Budget and Appropriations committee for voting in support of S3361, and urge Senate leadership to immediately post this legislation for a floor vote.”

"New Jersey does not need to be complicit in the racist, violent, and ineffective immigration enforcement system," said Vineeta Kapahi, Policy Analyst at New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP). "NJPP applauds the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for taking a step toward a more fair and welcoming New Jersey. We now urge the Senate to swiftly pass this legislation and hope to see it reach the Governor's desk soon."

Ted Fetter, chair of the Immigration Justice Task Force of Unitarian Universalist FaithAction New Jersey said,

"It is most gratifying to see that the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee has agreed to move the bill to the Senate floor.  If passed and signed by the Governor, New Jersey will be a safer home for immigrants, and our county and state governments will reflect the greater support for our undocumented neighbors that the majority of New Jersey citizens already feel. This is a good day for New Jersey." 


Abire Sabbagh, Community Engagement Coordinator with the Palestinian American Community Center said, 

“We are grateful and relieved that S3361 passed the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee, and eagerly look to and call on the rest of the Senate to vote on the Anti-Detention bill and hand it over to Governor Murphy for him to finally sign it into law. We need to sign this bill into law before more harm is done to immigrant communities and families. Passing this bill will ensure that families are kept together, which is a basic human right every individual should have, especially in this country.”

NJAIJ proudly stands with our members and legislative champions to call the State to swift action and ban future business with ICE.

New Year, New Team, New Session | Same Fight for Justice

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January Newsletter

Archived 2017 picture of NJAIJ rally against the Muslim Ban.

Friends, I'm writing with a personal message this month.
January marks one year since I joined NJAIJ and one year since we grew our team to include our Movement Building Coordinator, a role that has transformed how we empower immigrant communities all across the New Jersey. In my twelve months in coalition with you, I feel both grateful and galvanized.
In that year, New Jersey also
became the first state on the East Coast to ban ICE detention agreements. We became the 15th state to enact a status-neutral drivers' license program, and fought for a first-of-its-kind direct cash benefit program, the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund, to provide relief for households excluded from federal stimulus. We made history together, and I'm humbled by and in awe of your fight.
It's January again and we are pleased to announce that we are growing our team again, too!
I am thrilled to be joined in this work by advocates who have an unwavering dedication to social, racial, and economic justice. Please join me in welcoming:

Michelle Ancil, she/her, Communications Coordinator. Laura Bustamante, she/her, Policy & Campaigns Manager. Aidee Pascual, she/her, Administrative Assistant. Kat Phan, she/her, 2022 Intern.

Click to read more about our team.

January is a time of renewal and reflection.
This month, we highlight Selaedin Maksut, Executive Director of the New Jersey chapter of Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ). CAIR-NJ is at the fore of the fight to designate January as Muslim Awareness and Appreciation month. Selaedin reminds us about the importance of reflecting on the legacies and movements that came before us and celebrating the richness of our diversity.

In Solidarity and Community,
Amy Torres


Member Spotlight

 It's a blessing to be a part of a social movement that stands on the frontlines. We proudly and humbly stand on the shoulders of those that came before us, and the legacies of those who did tenfold of what we are doing today. Championing these causes and being a voice for the voiceless is a huge honor and blessing," says Selaedin Maksut, Executive Director, CAIR-NJ

A header image with the words


The Values Act was re-introduced in the Assembly and Senate as A1986/S512. The Values Act would provide critical protections that allow New Jerseyans to seek support from state and local agencies without fear of deportation. Tell your legislator you expect to see their support!


NILC Features NJ's Anti-Detention Law

National Immigration Law Center

The incredible campaign behind the bill that banned new ICE detention agreements, renewals, and expansions was featured in the National Immigration Law Center's annual report on Winning in the States.

The report celebrates New Jersey's win by acknowledging the many fronts of the battle: "The anti-detention fight in New Jersey has been a decades-long movement...but with closure announcements and the ban on new and renewed contracts, New Jersey will not have any ICE detention centers after 2023."

Excluded NJ Fund Falls Short

In the midst of the news that major parts of the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund had been diverted and then quickly restored, New Jersey Policy Perspective released a report.

NJPP's analysis finds, "[e]ven if the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund were kept at its original funding level, it does not match the aid provided to others facing financial hardship due to COVID-19." The report goes on to say, "not only do payments...fall far short of the cost of living in New Jersey, but the size of the fund is also too small to reach all excluded workers."

Fair Legislative Districts

Legislative redistricting is still underway but time is running out! Your voice is needed to make sure maps are fair, racially just, and representative of your community. 

NJAIJ is a proud member of the Fair Districts coalition. 
Research shows that public testimony at redistricting hearings is effective when it offers specific instructions to mapmakers, focuses on small-scale changes (like keeping a neighborhood together), and effectively defines a community and its needs for representation. You are the expert on your community. Get involved!

Ready to act? Spread the word:

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice

P.O. Box, 200492,  | Newark, New Jersey  07102| [email protected]

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