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NJAIJ Welcomes Amy Torres as Executive Director

New Jersey Alliance For Immigrant Justice Welcomes New Director

After a 9-month search, Alliance leadership selects Amy Torres to lead the organization’s immigrants’ rights priorities and statewide movement-building work 

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Immigrant Rights Advocates Applaud Assemblyman Johnson’s Introduction of Legislation Banning New and Renewed ICE Detention Contracts

Immigrant Rights Advocates Applaud Assemblyman Johnson’s Introduction of Legislation Banning New and Renewed ICE Detention Contracts

 

New Jersey -- Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020 --  Today, Assemblyman Gordon Johnson introduced legislation (A-5207) that would prohibit new, renewed, and expanded contracts to detain immigrants in New Jersey. This includes public and private detention agreements with federal immigration enforcement agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The legislation’s introduction shows New Jersey will no longer ignore or tolerate ICE’s inhumane and unjust treatment of immigrants within our state. 

 

The legislation responds to ICE’s issuance of two Requests For Information (RFI) for additional detention space in New Jersey and the tri-state area, potentially doubling the current capacity for detaining immigrants. The increase in bed space will lead to more ICE enforcement, detention, and cause more family separations in New Jersey.

 

The bill will ban new detention agreements with public and private entities, as well as the renewal or expansion of current ICE detention contracts in New Jersey. Immigrant rights advocates and impacted immigrants who have lived through immigration detention in New Jersey welcomed the legislation.

 

"New Jersey should not continue to detain immigrants. I was detained in immigration detention for four months during which time I was also separated from my family. Immigration detention is a very terrible place to be. After being released, I left behind many friends who still call me to talk about how much they continue to suffer and how much they miss their families while they remain in detention. This legislation will keep more people from having to endure this situation," said Lucas Guerra, member of American Friends Service Committee - Immigrant Rights Program.

 

For decades, advocates and residents have called on local counties to end their contracts with ICE. Currently, Bergen, Essex, and Hudson counties have agreements to hold immigrants in detention as they await adjudication on their immigration cases. Additionally, CoreCivic, a private corporation, operates a private ICE detention facility in Elizabeth, NJ.  

 

“Locking people up for civil immigration proceedings has separated families and caused incalculable trauma across New Jersey and the nation. Through decades of contracts with ICE, New Jersey counties have been complicit in the cruelty of federal immigration detention. This bill is an important step toward dismantling this system, and we call on New Jersey to say no to profiting off the detention of immigrants once and for all,” said Ami Kachalia, Campaign Strategist, ACLU-NJ

 

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Hudson County Freeholders Break Commitment To End ICE Contract by 2020

 

In a 6-3 Vote Renewing IGSA Detention Contract, the Freeholders choose to ignore public concerns about ICE detention in Hudson County.

 

NEW JERSEY -- Wednesday, November 25th, 2020 -- Yesterday, after 10 hours of public comment, during which every public speaker, including immigrants detained at Hudson County Jail and Hudson County residents, voiced overwhelming opposition to the renewal of Hudson County’s Intergovernmental Service Agreement (IGSA) detention contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Board of Chosen Freeholders voted to renew their contract for up to ten years. The renewal will likely subject thousands of immigrants to the inhumane conditions of ICE detention in Hudson County.

 

With only a two-day notice of the vote to the public, an estimated 200 people spoke in opposition to Hudson County renewing the ICE detention contract. In response, the New Jersey Alliance For Immigrant Justice released the following statement:   

 

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Immigrants’ Rights Advocates Urge Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise and Freeholders to Vote to End IGSA Detention Contract With ICE

NEW JERSEY -- Tuesday, November 24th, 2020 -- As Hudson County Freeholders prepare to vote on renewing the County’s Inter-Governmental Service Agreement (IGSA) contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that will continue detaining immigrants in the Hudson County Jail, the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice released the following statement:  

 

“In a time when Black and Brown immigrant communities are demanding divestment from the unjust incarceration and detention systems that deplete our communities of resources to be able to thrive, the Hudson County Freeholders are looking to renew their toxic contract with ICE. New Jersey’s immigrant communities stand against the renewal of this contract and demand Hudson County officials invest in our communities by ensuring access to legal representation for immigrants rather than continue to collaborate with ICE’s detention and deportation system. 

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“New ICE Detention Facilities Are Not Welcome

The agency seeks information for facilities that would add 1800 beds, doubling the current capacity for detained immigrants in the Garden State. 



NEW JERSEY -- October 30th, 2020 -- In response to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Requests For Information (RFI) for additional detention space within 60 miles of their New Jersey and New York field offices, immigrant rights advocates are raising the alarm. The consequences of additional ICE detention capacity in the area are serious; any increase in bed space will escalate ICE enforcement activities in immigrant communities across the tri-state region. 

 

New Jersey hosts four of ICE’s detention facilities in the Bergen, Essex, and Hudson county jails, and a private detention facility in Elizabeth. While immigration detention has always been unsafe and unsanitary, the COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the dangerous -- and deadly -- nature of the immigration detention system. As the tri-state area moves into the second wave of COVID-19, it’s more apparent than ever that increasing the number of detention beds in the region is a threat to public health and everyone’s safety. 

 

Thanks to the efforts of detained individuals and advocates, the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic in detention and jail facilities have been brought to the attention of the public. ICE's decision to continue detaining people during the pandemic has led to outbreaks at New Jersey facilities and staff members’ deaths at Hudson County Jail. Many federal court decisions have now recognized that ICE has been detaining medically vulnerable people during the pandemic in conditions that put their health and lives at risk.

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Federal District Court Upholds Immigrant Trust Directive

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More than 100 days without relief

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NJAIJ responds to SCOTUS DACA ruling

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Justice For George Floyd

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NJ Immigrant Rights Advocates Welcome Lawsuit By Detainees

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