Pressure Politicians, Don’t Blame Immigrant Justice Advocates

Whitney Strub
Published: 07/09/2021

Reading Tom Moran’s July 4 “Cutting ties with ICE likely to backfire,” I was struck by his misguided critique of the movement to ban ICE contracts in New Jersey. For years, we have seen how the ICE contracts in Essex, Hudson, and Bergen counties have encouraged our local officials to downplay the racist horrors of immigrant detention because they have a financial stake in it. I’ve attended numerous Essex county government meetings where I’ve watched them contract with corrupt jail vendors and accept the assurances of jail officials about the great conditions inside, when even the Department of Homeland Security itself condemned the facility’s squalid and abusive conditions as recently as 2019.

Instead of disparaging those who are fighting for immigrant justice, Mr. Moran should be screaming from the rafters at those who can influence policy. Where are Cory Booker and Bob Menendez as ICE continues to transfer people out of Essex county rather than releasing them? This isn’t Donald Trump’s ICE anymore, it’s Joe Biden’s, and we need our Democrats to show more courage in vocally demanding releases rather than transfers. New Jersey has the chance to set a national model for rejecting ICE and the immoral, expensive debacle of immigrant detention, but it requires a mass movement from grassroots community members to federal officials to send a message up to the president and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas. Mr. Moran should focus on that.

Topics: Tom MoranBergen County, NJEssex County, NJHudson County, NJICEImmigration