Faith in New Jersey and Faith in New York releases a letter from 185+ faith leaders and clergy calling for Hudson County Commissioners to vote “NO” on continuing the county’s contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) following testimony at Hudson County Commissioners meeting. Faith in New Jersey and Faith in New York leaders completed an unprecedented immigrant-led listening campaign of immigrant communities as part of our national LA RED campaign which released a participatory action research study of 13 states as well as the District of Columbia; Our Stories, Our Futures . We found an immense level of trauma, fear, and racism impacting immigrant communities as well as a desire to create a beloved community with a key focus on freedom of movement and freedom from ICE. If Hudson County honors it’s previous desire to end the contract immigrant communities will begin to get a little closer to the Beloved Community.

Dear Hudson County Commissioners,

As faith leaders from multiple denominations across New Jersey and New York, we are united under a core belief of support and togetherness. We understand the words of the Hebrew Bible that remind us not to stand idly by while our neighbor bleeds. If we take this to heart, how much the more so must we condemn the practice of profiting off of that pain?

We call upon you, our appointed lawmakers, to devote your platform to one of radical change: one that begins to end the commodification of primarily Black and Brown bodies by ending the county’s contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). We ask that you no longer be complacent in the trauma, fear, and racism that this contract aids ICE in inflicting upon immigrant communities. We ask that you no longer force your constituents to benefit from the suffering of their neighbors.

As representatives of our community, we know the people of Hudson County to be people of faith and sound conscience. A decision to renew the contract is not reflective of the community you serve. We want to be a beacon of hope that seeks to redeem this nation from the great harm it has been done for the sake of profit and white supremacy.

We remind you that our various faith traditions call us to love thy neighbor and to ensure the inherent worth and dignity of all people. We believe this can be done through a responsible end to the contract determined in collaboration with stakeholders and advocates that includes connecting detainees to community organizations and legal services so they may seek release and/or prepare legal defenses.

We may or may not agree with the national policies that have led to this unjust incarceration. However, we can agree that Hudson County should not become the Federal government’s warehouse for those it wishes to keep out of the public eye. We do a disservice not only to those who live in Hudson County, whose hands are stained with this blood or are even those imprisoned in these subhuman conditions, but also to our fellow New Jerseyans and New Yorkers, as we allow them to avert their eyes from this challenge to building a just society, that is fair to all. Return these parents to their children, spouses to their husbands or wives, human beings to their freedom – their incarceration is a burden unworthy of our county, and not worth the payoff, at any price.

We implore you to vote against extending this contract. Instead we ask that you embrace building the Beloved Community; one of hope, opportunity, justice, and love.

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