Home Essex County ICE Will No Longer Operate in Essex County by August

ICE Will No Longer Operate in Essex County by August

by Victoria Marie Moyeno
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It was announced last week by county officials that Essex County is ending its contract with ICE {Immigration and Customs Enforcement} and will not continue to house federal immigration detainees. Furthermore, that there will not be any detainees in the facility located in Newark by August 23rd.

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{Photo credit: @cityofnewarknj}

Tap Into reported that the decision to eliminate ICE detainees from the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark was a result of the Memorandum of Agreement with Union County to house inmates from Union, NJ. The report explained that due to lack of space in the county prison to house both ICE detainees and Union County inmates, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo said the new partnership with Union will offset the revenue it formerly received from ICE.

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“We have had a very solid working relationship with ICE during the last 13 years. It has always been in the best interest of the detainees to remain close to their family, friends, attorneys, and community organizations helping them in a facility that was safe and secure,” said DiVincenzo in a statement. “This partnership is a great opportunity for Union County to find an alternative way to house their inmates without having to operate a costly facility and for Essex County to maximize the capacity of our accredited complex and generate revenue.”

The county is anticipating about $11.3 million in revenue from its agreement with Union. The revenue is based on Essex County housing an average daily population of 300 inmates from Union, according to officials. Under the new agreement, Union County would pay Essex County a daily rate of $104 per inmate per day that is housed at the correctional facility, officials said. The Union County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved an MOU with Essex County during its April 22 meeting. The next day, Essex County officials officially notified ICE of its intent to depopulate the correctional facility of detainees.

A contract with the federal government says that ICE has 120 days to remove detainees from the jail, which means there will be no detainees in the facility by Aug. 23. ICE will decide where the detainees currently housed in the jail will be transferred. As of April 28, there are 165 ICE detainees in the facility.

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The report continued explaining that Essex County will provide video conferencing booths for Union County to conduct remote hearings and interviews with Union County inmates, but Union would be responsible for transporting its county inmates to the Union County Courthouse for in-person hearings and for transporting Union County inmates back to Union County when they are released. The agreement would be for five years with an opportunity to extend the partnership.

“The Essex County Board of Commissioners joins Essex County Executive DiVincenzo in the decision to end the contract with ICE and thereby end the confinement of ICE detainees at the Essex County Corrections Facility,” Essex County Board of County Commissioner President Wayne Richardson said. “It is commendable that other partnerships, particularly the recently announced agreement with the Union County Board of Commissioners, will aid Essex County in maintaining fiscal responsibility.”

Hudson County has also shown reluctance to the ICE contracts and constituents have spoken out against it. However, The Hudson County Freeholders voted to approve a new 10-year jail contract to ICE 6-3,  with Freeholders Bill O’ Dea, Joel Torres, and Fanny Cedeno voting against the new contract, while Freeholders Chairman Anthony Vainieri, Kenny Kopacz, Caridad Rodriguez, Albert Cifelli, Jerry Walker, and Anthony Romano voted to approve the contract. “Support for ICE by a contract such as this one harms our community and undermines our values,” Jabbour shared on the Zoom call. “I challenge the notion that this contract is needed for purposes of the county budget.”

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