Get ICE of out New Jersey!

NJ Governor Murphy, Senators Booker and Menendez,

Governor Murphy and Senators Booker and Menendez need to take action to truly get ICE out of New Jersey.

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.

To: NJ Governor Murphy, Senators Booker and Menendez,
From: [Your Name]

We demand you take immediate action against ICE in our state. The ongoing cruelty of ICE detention isn't something that can wait to be addressed. The proposed legislation A5207/S3361 would ban future contracts in New Jersey, and renewals of existing contracts. This is an important step, and we implore you to amend the bill to also terminate extant public and private ICE contracts in New Jersey immediately.

The deplorable conditions of ICE detention are widely documented, from third-party agencies' reports to those of New Jersey's own Attorney General. On top of this, New Jersey held the distinction of having the highest prison death rate from COVID-19 in the United States. As the public was told to wear masks, practice social distancing, and ventilate indoor spaces, these health measures were simply impossible to follow for people being held by ICE in crowded and windowless prisons.

Dozens of people in detention at multiple facilities engaged in hunger strikes to bring attention to these deadly conditions with ICE retaliating against hunger strikers on the inside and local police departments striking back against protesters on the outside. If ever there was a time to “free them all,” it is now.

New Jersey needs state action because our local officials have failed to uphold democratic accountability -- from Hudson County, where local government deliberately ignored the public's demand to cancel their ICE contract, to the privately owned Elizabeth Detention Center, where real estate developers continue profiting from caging immigrants despite their promises to stop collaborating with ICE. These shameful failures demand state intervention.

We can’t admit that it’s right to shut down future ICE jails, but then let existing ICE contracts continue for years and years more. The North New Jersey DSA demands that our state’s legislators pass A5207/S3361 with an amendment to close existing facilities now, that Governor Murphy sign it into law, and that we end ICE in New Jersey once and for all.