Protest over renewal of ICE contract to house immigrant detainees at Hudson county jail

Activists also have Bergen and Essex counties in their sights for contracting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency
Credit: NJ Spotlight News
Hudson County renewed its ICE contract late last month.

Activists in Hudson County aren’t letting up on their opposition to a recent decision to renew a federal contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to house detainees at the Hudson County jail.

About 30 demonstrators showed up outside the Malibu Diner in Hoboken Tuesday night holding signs and chanting loudly as Freeholder Anthony Romano held a fundraiser inside.

They were there hoping to hold him accountable for his vote in favor of another 10-year agreement with ICE.

The Hoboken Police and Hudson County Sheriff’s office were called after the protesters allegedly knocked over a table and blocked those trying to get to the event. No arrests were made, and police reports show the demonstration was largely peaceful.

Long frustrated with ICE for what they say is unfair targeting of immigrant communities and for harsh treatment of detainees, activists have targeted the New Jersey counties that have had contracts with the federal agency allowing it to pay them to house people in county jails. In addition to Hudson County, those counties are Bergen and Essex. A private contractor runs an ICE facility in Elizabeth, Union County.

Hudson County renewed its ICE contract late last month after a marathon public hearing packed by activists who urged county freeholders to reject it.

Conditions inside the ICE detention facilities continue to draw attention.

A group of immigrant detainees at the Bergen County Jail are on hunger strike to protest the conditions there and demanding to be released while they await the outcome of their deportation cases. The detainees allege poor health and safety standards made worse by the rising surge of COVID-19 cases.

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