Essex Freeholders Must Release Civil ICE Detainees

Whitney Strub
Published: 03/11/2020

For two years now, public opposition to Essex County’s profiteering from ICE detention has been a major feature of local politics, with numerous protests including civil disobedience in the streets. How do County Executive Joe DiVincenzo and his loyal board of freeholders respond? By taking even more ICE money, according to their projected 2020 budget. While raking in nearly $50 million from Trump’s cruel immigration policies, they spend a paltry $750,000—less than 2% of their intake—on funding immigrant legal defense.

With Coronavirus threatening to devastate vulnerable populations in prisons and jails (where ICE detainees are held in Newark, despite being under technically civil detention), it is a moral imperative that Joe D and the freeholders overcome their lucrative complicity in immigrant detention and publicly demand that ICE release its detainees before catastrophe strikes. New Jersey prisons and jails should also immediately expedite release programs, since the executive director of the Federal Defenders of New York called our overcrowded carceral system “a nightmare waiting to happen.” San Francisco is already moving in this direction. We must too. This is basic human decency and justice.

Topics: Criminal Justice ReformEssex County, NJICEHealthcareImmigrationJail ReformJoe DiVincenzo