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U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Menendez slams ‘misinformed’ Hudson freeholder on ICE contract

U.S. Senator says he told Hudson officials ‘publicly and privately’ that he opposed extension of deal

By David Wildstein, December 04 2020 5:17 pm

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez punched back at a longtime political ally, saying that he has told Hudson County officials publicly and privately that having a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is bad public policy.

Menendez and U.S. Senator Cory Booker have criticized Hudson County’s decision to renew a contract with ICE.

“No one should be shocked by my opposition to these contracts when I have spent decades in public service fighting for the rights of immigrants — working to reform our broken immigration system — and advocating ICE end its inhumane detention policy that targets families over felons and sows fear and distrust in the community,” Menendez said in a statement on Friday evening.

Freeholder Chairman Anthony Vainieri took a shot at the two U.S. Senators today, saying they had an opportunity to work with them on a solution, and alleged that Menendez and Booker were simply trying to curry favor with progressives opposed to the ICE contract.

Menendez strongly pushed back on Vainieri’ s statement.

“With all due respect to the Freeholder Chairman, he is deeply misinformed, and the record speaks for itself,” Menendez said.  “It was Hudson County that announced more than two years ago that it was phasing out its ICE contract before it chose to ignore the fierce objections of county residents and suddenly reverse course.”

Menendez said that as a U.S. Senator he has “zero role or authority in the development of contracts between the county and ICE,” but that he had “repeatedly made my concerns known to Hudson officials both publicly and privately.”

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