Today, following years of struggle by North Jersey DSA and many other organizations, the state of New Jersey has taken an important first step towards abolishing ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) in New Jersey. Governor Murphy signing AB 5207 / SB 3361 into law means that local governments can no longer enter into contracts that allow them to collaborate with ICE and profit from the cruel and senseless incarceration of immigrants.
The Democratic Socialists of America supports open borders and the free movement of all people. The North Jersey chapter has been at the forefront of working towards this objective through a priority campaign to abolish ICE in New Jersey. ICE has a massive presence in the area, with four separate detention facilities in Northern New Jersey incarcerating immigrants from New York and New Jersey.
Unfortunately, the passage of AB 5207 / SB 3361 does not mean the end of ICE presence in New Jersey. The bill does not impact existing ICE contracts. It is of critical importance that Essex, Hudson, and Bergen counties immediately end their existing contracts with ICE. Likewise, we strongly oppose efforts by these counties to trade ICE detainees for other inmates, as we have seen in the case of Essex County. The local officials who have profited from ICE, as well as elected federal officials such as senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez and representatives Albio Sires, Donald Payne, Bill Pascrell, and others must be full-throated and resolute in demanding releases rather than transfers from the Biden administration. The movement to abolish ICE must be connected to the broader effort to defund police and end mass incarceration in the United States.