Can Essex County's ICE contract really be helping detainees?

Jim Price
Published: 10/04/2020

One of the usual Commissioner (Freeholder) justifications for maintaining the ICE contract is that “we can keep them close to their families."

Last week 54 detainees were removed by ICE from the Essex County Correctional Facility. According to WNYC News (9/23/20), "it's unusual to see 54 immigrants removed at once. ICE said five were immediately deported while 49 were taken to staging areas to prepare for deportation.” Essex County, as the Commissioners have told us repeatedly over the past several years, has no control over who ICE moves in or out of the jail.

And the 40 million a year that Essex receives from the ICE contract? Quoting Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. from the New York Times (10/14/19), “Government cannot fund itself entirely on property taxes, so it is important that government find other sources of revenue.” Joe seems very clear that the point of the contract is money (and lower taxes for Essex County).

The Commissioners should stop pretending that immigrant detention is helping the immigrants. It’s not. The county should also stop collaborating with Trump and ICE. Crossing a border in hope for a better life should not be illegal. No one is illegal on stolen land.

Topics: Essex County, NJICEImmigrationJoe DiVincenzoTaxes