News

LAS: Clients Must Be Released as ICE Exits New Jersey

Bergen county is formally ending its relationship with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), as reported by the New Jersey Monitor. Hudson county also recently announced that it would end its contract with ICE.

The Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services, and The Bronx Defenders – New York City’s defender organizations providing free legal representation to detained immigrants through the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) – called on ICE to release individuals detained in both facilities rather than transfer them out of state, away from their families, counsel, and communities.

While the end of these contracts represents an important first step, a true victory will result in ending ICE detention nationwide. Immigration enforcement is a civil – not criminal – matter. ICE retains discretion on whether to detain and release individuals.

Advocates have long maintained that ICE enforcement and detention is racist, unnecessary, and dangerous. It tears families apart, inflicts lifelong trauma, and deprives people of basic human rights.