The Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee will weigh a bill barring New Jersey’s correctional facilities from adopting contracts to hold detainees for Immigration and Customs Enforcement Wednesday.
Such contracts have drawn scrutiny from immigration advocates for years, but a recent shift in attitude among some county lawmakers has them trending down.
Officials in Essex County in late April said they were terminating their contract with ICE, the federal agency charged with deporting undocumented immigrants and those who overstay their visas.
Hudson County’s Democratic leaders, ones that had long opposed activist calls to end their lucrative contract to house ICE detainees, quickly followed suit, signaling willingness to end their agreement with the federal agency.
Movement in Bergen County has been slower, and that county’s indefinite contract with ICE won’t be impacted by the bill, which bars state, local and county governments from entering into, extending or renewing agreements to house individuals for civil immigration offenses.
The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee advanced its version of the bill in a party-line vote last Thursday.
The lower chamber’s version is sponsored by Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood), Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Trenton) and Assemblywoman Linda Carter (D-Plainfield). Six other Assembly Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors.