The New Jersey State Senate and Assembly recently passed bills that would ban counties from signing new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement contracts. The bills will also prohibit counties with existing ICE contracts (Essex, Hudson and Bergen) from renewing them. The legislation is awaiting Gov. Phil Murphy’s signature.
The two major political parties have done little to resolve the immigration issue. Nationally, the Republicans vote for jails and walls; the Democrats vote for dithering. The presence of 11.5 million undocumented residents are a testament to the failure of both approaches. Meanwhile in North Jersey, enterprising Democrats have collaborated with ICE to balance county budgets with lucrative jail contracts.
Immigration is a global phenomenon. Nowhere have walls and jails stopped desperate people from fleeing life-threatening situations. Turning a blind eye to undocumented immigrants so they can provide cheap labor is also not a solution. The opportunists who control both parties need to do better and come up with a path to citizenship for all. The current system — or lack of one — is deeply inhumane.
Editor’s note: Essex County officials announced in late April they were ending a contract to house ICE inmates at the county jail.
Montclair Local’s Opinion section is an open forum for civil discussion in which we invite readers to discuss town matters, articles published in Montclair, or previously published letters. Views expressed and published in this section are solely those of the writers, and do not represent the views of Montclair Local.
Letters to the editor: To submit a letter to the editor, email email@example.com, or mail “Letters to the Editor,” 309 Orange Road, Montclair, NJ, 07042 (email is preferred). Submissions must include the name, address and phone number of the writer for verification. Only the writer’s name and town of residence will be published. Montclair Local does not publish anonymous opinion pieces.
Letters must be no more than 500 words in length, and must be received by 5 p.m. Monday to be eligible for potential publication in that week’s Thursday print issue. Letters may be edited by Montclair Local for grammar and style. While our goal is to publish most letters we receive, Montclair Local reserves the right to decline publication of a letter for any reason, including but not limited to concerns about unproven or defamatory statements, inappropriate language, topic matter far afield of the particular interests of Montclair residents, or available space.
Town Square: Montclair Local also accepts longer-form opinion essays from residents aiming to generate discussion on topics specific to the community, under our “Town
Square” banner. “Town Square” essays should be no more than 750 words in length, and topics should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org at least seven days prior to publication.