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A few dozen protesters gathered to show support for immigrant detainees participating in a hunger strike at New Jersey’s Bergen County Jail. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees shared their experiences with organizers during the protests. Marcial Morales Garcia, a former detainee who participated in the strike, said most of the strikers want to be released because the facility isn’t properly cleaned and denies detainees’ medical needs. Emilio Dabul, a spokesperson for ICE, said only nine detainees stopped eating meals, but did not mention for how long. An ICE detainee is considered to be on a hunger strike if they refuse to eat nine consecutive facility-provided meals. NorthJersey.com
In other local immigration news…
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Long Lines at New York City’s Food Banks
The pandemic has led 65 percent more people to visit New York City’s food pantries and soup kitchens this year when compared to last year, according to a new report from Hunger Free America. Many of those relying on food pantries are immigrants, including Juana Garcia, who moved from Mexico five years ago. Garcia every member of her household is unemployed, but she is able to make weekly trips to St. John’s Bread & Life food pantry to support them. Enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program increased about 15 percent between March and September, with about 1.7 million New Yorkers now enrolled. But some New York residents do not qualify for SNAP because of their immigration status or because they make too much money, and some feel SNAP does not provide enough for their households. Gothamist
Refugee Resettlement Increase Will Impact New York
President-elect Joe Biden’s plan to increase the number of refugees accepted by the U.S. will have an impact on New York state, where many refugees settle. New York City, Erie County and Rochester all accept many refugees. Biden said his plan was to increase the number of refugees admitted to 125,000 from the 15,000 Trump has currently set it at. New York State also typically provides millions of dollars to resettlement organizations and about 1,800 refugees are resettled in New York each year. It could take months or years for the U.S. to begin admitting over 100,000 refugees per year as there are currently few going through the lengthy vetting process. Also, the current state budget has been decimated due to the coronavirus, including cuts to local refugee organizations. Gotham Gazette
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