Jersey City, NJ (November 18th, 2020) – On Tuesday, North New Jersey DSA Member Joel Brooks witnessed US Customs and Border Patrol agents openly and conspicuously staking out a site in Jersey City – a sanctuary city where local law enforcement are not supposed to collaborate with US CBP or ICE.

“Jersey City is a sanctuary city, so imagine my surprise to see US Customs and Border Patrol openly operating in broad daylight. I was shocked and horrified,” Brooks said. “I snapped a few pictures, took some video and alerted local elected officials. I could not help but think of the human rights violations ICE and CBP have committed all over the country as well as here in Hudson County. In the last days of the Trump administration, I hope we will all look out for each other as a community. Let your neighbors know – CBP and ICE are not welcome in Hudson County!”

While the Jersey City Police Department told reporters they were not assisting CBP in any way, the relationships between New Jersey cities and counties and ICE/CBP remain far too close for comfort, according to North Jersey DSA. Hudson County contracts with ICE to detain immigrants in the county jail. When the freeholders renewed their contract with ICE in 2018 over loud community protest, it was with a promise to end the contract in 2020. As this year draws to a close, they seem unwilling to fulfill that vow, despite an overwhelming consensus from the immigrant-justice community, seen in a statement organized this month by the Abolish ICE NY/NJ coalition and signed by 61 activist and advocacy groups. 

Meanwhile, Essex and Bergen counties also contract with ICE, detaining people in conditions so squalid, inhumane, and Covid-unsafe that those in the Bergen jail are currently on a hunger strike, the most recent of several this year in New Jersey’s four ICE detention camps. 

A just-released report on  adherence to Attorney General Grewal’s Immigrant Trust Directive shows that as of the end of 2019, Hudson, Essex, and Bergen counties all continued to cooperate with ICE in various ways, from allowing ICE access to detained individuals, notifying ICE of upcoming releases, and holding people past their eligibility for release to assist ICE. This inexcusable collaboration with ICE inspires great distrust in our local officials’ assurances that they do not assist CBP or ICE. 

North New Jersey DSA condemns CBP’s and ICE’s presence in our communities, and all cooperation with their racist violence against immigrants. Funding our counties with revenue derived from carrying out ICE’s cruel and unnecessary caging of human beings is a particularly odious method of governing in our diverse and progressive region. 

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