Progressive Filipino Organizations Denounce Hudson County Contract with ICE

Anakbayan North Jersey, Anakbayan Rutgers, GABRIELA New Jersey, and Migrante New Jersey vehemently condemn the expansion of the Hudson County detention system for the continued criminalization and torture of migrants & refugees. As members of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA), we stand against all collaborations between Immigrant & Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the state, and assert that only the building of a powerful anti-imperialist grassroots migrant movement will truly bring down the detention walls and end the suffering of millions of migrants forced to leave their homes.

During nine hours of public comments, nearly 200 activists, lawyers, clergy people, former ICE detainees, and elected officials from NJ gave testimonies and urged the freeholders to vote no. Yet, at the end of a record breaking 12 hour long meeting, the Hudson County Freeholders voted yes, 6-3, to renew a 10-year contract with ICE. 

We are moved by the community for bravely retelling their stories, and we stand with the countless organizations and advocates within the Abolish ICE NY/NJ Coalition for their tireless fight against this ICE contract. It breaks our hearts to see that despite hearing the 200 testimonies against the continuation of the contract, Freeholders Albert Cifelli, Kenneth Kopacz, Caridad Rodriguez, Anthony Romano, Anthony Vainieri, and Jerry Walker voted yes to renewing the contract. These freeholders have unveiled that they are nothing more than puppets that administer and perpetuate the exploitation and oppression of working-class migrants. 

We must remember that this renewal of the ICE contract and enduring relationship between Hudson County and ICE is part of the larger imperialist system. This system is designed to squeeze every cent from the hardship and sacrifices of poor people who are displaced from their home countries to find sustenance abroad because of the lack of livelihood to sustain themselves and their families. The carceral system under the imperialist state profits from the caging and criminalization of innocent Black and Brown people, who have been especially devastated by COVID-19 these last months. 

The U.S. as the dominant imperialist power has had a direct hand in destabilizing countries like the Philippines, by extracting natural resources, monopolizing industries and exploiting workers, peasants and farmers. In the Philippines, this migration has been systematized into a Labor Export program that puts the burden of economic development and paying off massive global loans onto migrants. Local governments have incentives to profit from forced migration by filling beds in ICE detention facilities. The imperialist machine works hand-in-hand with the prison industrial complex, whose only function is to criminalize and dehumanize Black, Brown, Indigenous, people of color in order to provide cheap labor for the capitalist ruling class. This cannot be boiled down to the moral choice of a handful of individuals but rather, is a part of the imperialist system that enacts violence on migrants in our very own backyards. 

We call on all grassroots migrant organizations and groups in New Jersey to unite all struggles against imperialism to address the root causes of forced migration! We must also come together to hold our freeholders and other government officials accountable — because it is only through the strength, organization, and unity of the people that real and concrete change towards the elimination of forced migration and imperialism can be seen through.

Every day, and at every turn, the people are realizing that taking action and fighting for the rights of all oppressed people is the only option to see and realize a better future. We celebrate the 200 people who gave testimonials at this meeting. It is a testimony to the painstaking organizing that gave way for such a display of people power.  As national democratic mass organizations and member organizations of IMA, we will continue to link up with the people’s organizations in the fight against ICE as part and parcel in the struggle against imperialism. 

We are in solidarity with all detainees and will continue to link arms with all migrants, refugees, and displaced people in their fight to put an end to all detention centers, cages and the likewise; as well as their struggle for migrant rights! Let’s grow the grassroots migrants movement from New Jersey to our homelands to end forced migration.

Calls to Action: 

  • Join the action in solidarity with the nine detainees at Bergen County Jail on a hunger strike to demand their release this Friday, November 27 at 1 PM outside of the Bergen County Jail
  • Sign on to IMA USA’s Grassroots Migrants Agenda
  • Join the weekly phone zap Fridays at 12 noon



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