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NJ Working Families Director Sue Altman. (Photo: Nikita Biryukov for the New Jersey Globe)

Altman slams Hudson County for renewing ICE contract

By Nikita Biryukov, November 25 2020 2:42 pm

New Jersey Working Families slammed Hudson County’s all-Democratic Freeholder Board for approving a new contract to hold Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees in its county jail for up to 10 more years.

“The Hudson County Board of Commissioners represented New Jersey politics at its worst last night,” Working Families State Director Sue Altman said. “The commissioners decided to ignore the clear will of their constituents — represented by hundreds of residents participating in a staggering 12 hours of testimony — and approved a new contract that continues the county’s sorry history of complicity with the worst of our nation’s immigration policies.”

The Freeholder Board last night met to consider the contract, which is staunchly opposed by residents in Hudson but which provides millions of dollars in funding to the county each year.

It’s projected to bring in about $8 million this year. It brought in about $22 million in 2019, but Hudson’s population of immigrant detainees has since dropped.

Though its members split 6-3 on the decision — with Freeholder Chairman Anthony Vainieri and Freeholders Caridad Rodriguez, Kenny Kopacz, Jerry Walker, Anthony Romano and Albert Cifelli voting in its favor and Freeholders Bill O’Dea, Fanny Cedeno and Joel Torres voting against it — there was little but opposition from those in attendance.

The county’s longstanding contract with ICE has drew growing scorn under President Donald Trump’s administration, and Tuesday’s hours-long meeting was no exception.

Residents said renewing the contract would stain the county by tying it to ICE and undermine the values of Hudson residents.

“We applaud the dozens of grassroots advocates who stood up for justice last night,” Altman said. “The people of Hudson County deserve a local Democratic Party that is in step with the mainstream, national Democratic Party fighting for the interests of immigrants and people of color — and not one that prioritizes profits over the clear will of their constituents.”

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