Advocates Shocked By Decision to Delay Senate Committee Vote on Banning New ICE Detention Facilities -- Call for New Jersey Legislature to Stand Against Hate



Newark, NJ -- Friday, March 12th, 2021 -- Immigrants’ rights advocates were shocked by a sudden decision to delay a planned vote S-3361, a bill that would ban all future federal immigration detention contracts and prohibit the renewal and extension of existing contracts. The bill, which was scheduled to be voted on in the Senate’s Law & Public Safety Committee on Thursday, was suddenly scheduled for discussion only.  If signed into law, the legislation will take effect immediately.

Urgency for the bill has been building since December when it was first introduced in the Assembly (A-5207) in response to two October Requests For Information (RFIs) issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to identify new locations for detention facilities within 60 miles of its Newark and New York field offices. These RFIs would significantly expand ICE’s capacity for raids and arrests in the region and will most certainly result in expansions or renewals of New Jersey’s current agreements.

Advocates warn that further delay of this bill would allow local governments and private entities to make hasty arrangements to extend their existing contracts. More urgently, far-right hate groups have indicated that they are mobilizing an opposition campaign to spread misinformation about transfers and false threats to public safety. During Thursday’s Senate committee hearing, a representative of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an extremist organization, testified in opposition to the bill. FAIR has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and regularly launches disinformation campaigns in states around the nation in response to forward-thinking local immigration policies. 

“The State must make a choice. When it comes to immigration, will New Jersey stand on the right side of history? Or will New Jersey stand with the far-right’s baseless fear-mongering and racist attacks?,” said Amy Torres, Executive Director at the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. “Last November’s national election is a clear indication of where voters stand. The Alliance looks forward to working with our members and allies to make A5207/S3361 a reality and keep the legislature accountable to their promise to create a fair and welcoming New Jersey for all.”


“It is past time for New Jersey to end its complicity in the trauma that ICE inflicts on immigrant communities across the state living in fear of ICE enforcement and detention. To truly create a fair and welcoming state for everyone who calls New Jersey home, we must end the abhorrent practice of profiting from the detention of our friends and neighbors,” said Ami Kachalia, Campaign Strategist, ACLU-NJ.  “We urge the New Jersey Legislature to advance legislation to ban new immigration detention contracts, and renewals and expansions of existing contracts.”

Despite the surprise delay, the public demonstrated strong support for the bill with impacted residents, legal representatives, and advocates calling on Committee Chair Greenstein and committee members to vote the Senate version of the bill out of committee and protect immigrant families from the threat of expanded ICE detention. Advocates are also calling on Assembly Speaker Coughlin and Chairman Taliaferro to post the bill in the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee for a vote on March 17th. 




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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