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Federal and county officials have denied reports that dozens of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees were transferred from New Jersey’s Hudson County jail to another facility in New York. Tania Mattos, policy and Northeast monitoring manager for Freedom for Immigrants, tweeted on Friday that 50 ICE detainees were transferred to Orange County Correctional Facility in Goshen, New York. She later clarified the number was 40. But Hudson County spokesman Jim Kennelly and an ICE official said only three individuals were transferred to a New York facility on Thursday. Kennelly also said there is no mass hunger strike ongoing at Hudson and that only one ICE detainee refused consecutive meals. NJ.com
In other local immigration news…
Hunger Strikers Allegedly Face Punishment
Advocates and attorneys for immigrant hunger strikers at New Jersey jails say detainees are allegedly being penalized for refusing food. ICE detainees from Hudson, Essex and Bergen county facilities in New Jersey are demanding their release to avoid catching COVID-19 while they wait for their court hearings. Johanna Zacarias, attorney from the Legal Aid Society, said that to end the strikes, detainees are being put into solitary confinement. One of her clients from Hudson County claimed to be held in a cell with no water or working toilet. A spokesman for Hudson County said water is provided for hunger strikers and they are put into cells by themselves so medical staff can closely monitor them. WNYC
New Opportunity for COVID Rent Relief in New York
New York state opened a new application for its COVID-19 rent relief program last week. It’ll be open until the end of January. The state got $100 million from the federal CARES Act in July, and lawmakers and activists were worried $60 million that wasn’t distributed would be returned. The new application requires tenants show they were “rent-burdened” between April and July and that their pre-pandemic household income was at or under 80 percent of the Area Median Income in order to qualify for limited rent payments. Residents who were denied the first time will be re-evaluated. Still, many New Yorkers won’t be able to apply because of immigration status requirements, while non-English speakers may find it difficult. Gothamist