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New Jersey Gov. Signs Bill Banning ICE Contracts in Jails

Plus: Undocumented New Jersey residents awaiting state stimulus, Afghan New Yorkers taking action to help families back home

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed a bill Friday stating that state jails can no longer hold federal immigrant detainees under contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The new law bans local and private jails from “entering into, renewing, or extending immigration agreements,” but doesn’t mention what will happen with current contracts. Hudson County extended its contract with ICE for 10 years last November. Essex County terminated its 13-year contract with the agency in August and removed all immigrant detainees. Meanwhile the Elizabeth Detention Center, a private facility, renewed its ICE contract in 2023 before Murphy signed the bill. North Jersey 

In other local immigration news…

Undocumented NJ Residents Still Awaiting State Stimulus

Monica Galindo became the sole breadwinner for three children in her household after her husband died during the pandemic last year. But she lost her cleaning job that same month due to pandemic restrictions, causing her to fall behind on rent and lights bills. Since she is one of 460,000 undocumented residents in the state, she paid taxes but can’t claim unemployment benefits or federal stimulus aid. In May, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced a $40 million fund for excluded workers, which made Galindo anxious to learn how she could receive this money. But undocumented immigrants and advocates said they haven’t heard anything about the fund since it was announced. New Jersey Monitor 

Afghan New Yorkers Taking Action to Help Families Back Home

According to the 2015 American Community Survey, over 10,0000 Afghans live within New York City, Jersey City and Philadelphia. Many of them reside in Flushing, Queens. Some left when the Soviet military invaded Afghanistan in 1979, while others are children of immigrants who haven’t experienced having to flee their homes but are witnessing what their relatives and other Afghans are currently facing. New York Afghans are preparing to help their families in Afghanistan, as well as those who are coming to the city. Bhshta Ibrahim Khail, a volunteer for Afghan Americans of New York, said, “We’re doing everything we can to get them out of there, to speak up, to be an advocate, be a voice for the voiceless people through this crisis that they’re facing.” THE CITY 

Immigration Advocates Turn to Hochul to Assist Afghans

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will become New York’s new governor starting on Tuesday, and New York immigration advocates are hoping she will be on their side. While Hochul has advocated for the arrest of immigrants in the past, she says her views toward immigrants have changed. Murad Awawdeh, the executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, believes Hochul can use her new powers to help immigrants and refugees from Afghanistan. “I think Governor-to-be Hochul should really use her bully pulpit and demand President Biden increase the refugee number so they can bring more folks into the country and also expedite the visa programs that are already present,” he said in a Capital Tonight interview. Spectrum News

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