While the aggressive immigration enforcement policies of the Trump administration continue nearly unabated at the national level, activists on the left are succeeding on a smaller scale as they persuade local governments to end jail contracts with ICE. Their hope is that shutting ICE out of the jails that hold immigrants awaiting deportation and court hearings will pressure the Trump administration to loosen its “zero tolerance” policy toward undocumented immigrants.
Local officials are yielding to this scaled-down localized version of the #AbolishICE movement in both liberal and conservative areas. In California, local governments in Contra Costa County, Sacramento County and the city of Santa Ana recently pulled out of their contracts with ICE. The same thing happened in Williamson County, Texas, which will no longer hold immigrants come this January, and in Atlanta, where the mayor issued an executive order to stop accepting ICE detainees.
The latest success for the movement was in Hudson County, N.J.
When local legislators in the diverse and Democratic county met in July to renew a long-standing contract with the federal government to detain immigrants, they quietly voted on the deal without so much as announcing it beforehand on the meeting agenda.
The resulting firestorm blindsided the all-Democratic board of freeholders, which runs the county. A group of local religious leaders sued. Protests outside the Hudson County jail, which detains nearly 700 immigrants, grew so loud that the jail director said the noise stirred a near riot in an immigrant wing of the facility. Finally, last Thursday, the freeholders voted 6-3 to end their multimillion-dollar contract with ICE by 2020.
“We come to you tonight because you do have the power — and it may not be a lot,” said Carl Schwartz, one of scores of ICE opponents to speak at the 4 1/2-hour freeholder meeting. “It may be for one county, in one state, over one detention center. But if we can get this thing shut down here in Hudson County we can show what we really stand for in North Jersey.”
By Matt Katz for N P R
Read Full Article HERE