This is a recap of an article shared on WNYC.org from NorthJersey.com. Click either to read the full articles.
UPDATE: On August 9 at 1pm at the Freeholders Meeting located at 567 Pavonia Avenue (behind the county administration building), Hudson County Religious leaders will be reading a letter supported by 36 interfaith leaders as well as Bishop Beckwith. (Please find the letter here)
Immigration is a sensitive topic. But doing it behind closed doors is not the way to do this is such a diverse area with a huge immigrant population. Also, to add, which we found out later, the freeholders are the highest paid in the state - also voted themselves a raise during this meeting as well. How did they vote themselves a raise? At this point, the only plausible answer is from the additional ICE money. We will update you when we have confirmation.
We live in the most diverse city in the country. Hudson County also has a foreign-born population of more than 42 percent, according to the U.S. Census.
So why did a rush vote happen this week to renew a controversial contract to detain immigrants at the county jail in exchange for about $35 million a year from Immigration and Customs Enforcement? And 2 members of the Freeholders were absent from the meeting as well.
Photo from NJ.COM
We learn in the article that it was put on the agenda the night prior to the meeting and Joel Torres asked to have it pushed out to august to have time to review. Turns out they are not so up on their contracts and it expired in January.
We also learn from Anthony Vainieri "ICE detainees have to go somewhere. We can house them here, and it's better for the families ... so they don't have to travel far. ... There is no reason why we shouldn't approve a contract just because people are against ICE." From The Bergen Record.
This is a blatant showing that the freeholders are are following the money instead of their constituents. Let's think of ways to stop the programs and get lawyers and aid for the asylum seekers, instead of increasing how much money we get to keep them in jail.
Who voted for the contract? Anthony L Romano Anthony Vainieri Jerry Freeholder Walker Kenneth Kopacz andCaridad Rodriguez.
I encourage you to read the article and then make an educated decision. We strongly feel that this was the wrong course of action and does not represent Hudson County. Freeholders you can do much better.
If you would like to help - volunteer, donate, organize - First Friends of NJ & NY is an amazing organization located in Hackensack that works with asylum seeking detainees in the Hudson County Jail, Essex County Jail, Bergen County Jail, and Elizabeth Detention Center (yes we have an ICE detention center 20 minutes away).
Also, you can email or call your freeholders - Hudson County Board of Freeholders and make sure your voice is heard.
We understand this is a hot topic. However, you may feel about people seeking asylum in The US (did your family emigrate here under any duress?), I remind you to look inside yourself and remember these people are human beings.
They are not criminals and in most cases fleeing for their lives from their government, from gangs, from abusive relationships. They take a very dangerous trip to get here because it is better than where they came from.