Welcome to what will probably be a *very* long livetweet of the @HudCoTweet board of freeholders meeting in which they will decide whether to authorize the county executive to renew the county jail's contract with ICE.

At 1pm on a Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving.
You might get the impression that they do not want public involvement in this decision.

You would be correct. Two years ago they got sued for violating the open public meetings act when they rushed this vote through.
This time they are at least following the letter of the law, which is to say, they gave us (and some freeholders) 72 hours of warning that this was on the agenda.

Catch up on the caucus meeting that set the agenda yesterday here: https://twitter.com/jkefka/status/1330978851741192193
Zoom has just started with clerk Santos and freeholder Walker. Walker coming from an office today, rather than his home.
Santos clarifies that they are live, now, and people tuned in can see them.

...they changed the Zoom settings. This is a webinar format. There is no raise hands button for public comment.

@HudCoTweet explain please. Quickly.
Reaching out to Clerk Santos about this. He checks his email during meetings.

They are beginning.
Roll call. Cifelli is absent at the start (he usually turns up late). Vainieri, Romano, and O'Dea are in the board room.

I presume they are aware of this.

The notice of meeting, by the way, says there will be a raise hands option, so we're back in illegal territory.
Starting with a laudatory motion, which does not have room for comment.

Someone who has worked for the planning board for 19 years. Good for them.
Several of the freeholders will add their personal congratulations in the process of the vote.

O'Dea says the honoree always brought a smile to everyone at the board meetings. Vainieri jokingly asks if she can stick around, and O'Dea says "shoulda put it at the end".
Cifelli belatedly joins.

Vainieri: "A lot of people can't stick with the planning board two years, and you stayed on it for 19."

Also lots of dunking on the honoree's husband, who is known to many on the board.

They are trying to let her say a few words.
After some tech difficulties, she thanks the board and the executive for letting her serve on the board for 19 years.

Well isn't that all a nice uplifting note to start off this train wreck. Moving on to the substance.
Now the period for freeholders to discuss the agenda.

O'Dea following up on the questions about the technical school yesterday, to which answers came in scattershot. Someone hands O'Dea the printed emails.
We now move to the public comment period.

Oh good, they have added the "raise hand" button. OK. There we go. Starting with speakers in the chambers.
Five speakers in the chambers.

First speaker is on the ICE contract. Speaker will be reading testimony on behalf of a sister of the Sisters of St. Joseph who was unable to attend.

Calling for the release of immigrants held in HudCo jail, and the end of the contract.
A direct, and prayerful call for compassion.

Next in-person speaker starts asking whether that they are allowed to record in the board room. The answer is you can.
This speaker is from Faith of NJ. They spoke in the last meeting. They are asking the board to condemn the caging of human beings, particularly children. This is straight anti-carceral and beautiful. Condemns the board for condoning the treatment of imprisoned immigrants.
"There are over 600 children in this country that they cannot find their parents. Many of their parents are deceased due to mistreatment and neglect in the facilities, and many others are missing...Do better."
A solmen, respectful, and somber statement, but beautiful.
Next speaker from District 3, JC 4.

"I would like to thank the committee for allowing me to use my PTO at 1pm on a Tuesday before Thanksgiving." 🔥

Represented by Walker.

Says local JC councilors will be speaking against this contract.
"Despite only making up 7% of the undocumented immigrant population, Black immigrants make up 20% of the proceedings against immigrants."

"Agreements like this enable ICE. A big Hudson County rubber stamp enables them, full stop."
"I hear there are concerns over correctional officer jobs. Recently Hudson County had the opposite problem: Over 100 open CO jobs"

This is true, they have made up the difference with overtime.

For decent human beings, being a CO is a miserable job.
"At least have the decency to let the political process have its due."

There is cross-talk from somewhere.

Calls back to the promise in 2018 to end the contract, and calls the freeholders out for reneging on it.
"For my Jewish ancestors who fled to this country, I must not be silent."

Justice, Justice shall you pursue ✊

Time, wraps quickly.
Next speaker in the chamber. Also on the ICE contract, lives in ward F of JC, District 3.

"I'm lucky enough to come here on my lunch break, two days before thanksgiving, to make my statement, and most people are not like me. I suspect that's not lost on you."
"I've reached out to my district representative, Jerry Walker, three times [since October], and never heard back."

Calling on the board to take a stand, a real moral argument. "That's a moral argument and I know that doesn't hold much sway for politicians." 🔥🔥
Adds several technical points, coming back on jobs, and noting that the Obama administration "built the cages at the border", it will not be better under Biden.

One more speaker in the chambers.
Next speaker from Union City, represented by Cedeno.

Asks the freeholders to do the right thing and cancel this ICE contract.

"The 3 million dollars this contract brought in is far less than was projected."
"If you don't want to hear from us constantly, then just cancel the contract. Do the right thing and cancel the contract."
On to the Zoom call. Vainieri: "Shut down anybody who uses profanity immediately."

Santos reports 71 raised hands, including 3 municipal elected officials.

Santos asks whether they want to go in order or start with the elected officials.
By tradition they start with elected officials, so we'll go with that.

Councilman from JC. Spoke two years ago, prior to their election.

Gives the freeholders credit for putting an end date on the contract two years ago (instead of canceling it outright).
"And that why it's so disappointing we're back here today, hearing the same arguments and the same messages."

Quotes Sen. Menendez's letter to DHS Sec. Wolf to release asylum-seekers. Menendez is not in favor of working with ICE.
"We heard two years ago about how we had hundreds of detainees and there was going to be an economic hit. We're down to less than 90. The hit to the budget is not that significant, and to take a position that is so contrary to the values of the people you represent...is wrong."
In January, the Hoboken city council approved a resolution calling on the federal gov't to release ICE detainees. "In my view and the views of the people I represent, we should vote against this contract."
Points out that even if some of the detained people have been accused of serious crimes, they are innocent until proven guilty, and they are being denied the rights of arrested citizens.
Calls time.

O'Dea has a comment, has to yell at Vainieri to get recognized.

"Those individuals that were cited in an email earlier today to us without names but with criminal charges, in 95% of those cases they have served their debt to society."
O'Dea basically saying, they already served their time to completion, and they got re-arrested.

"There's individuals with DUIs, they served their 90 days, but they're sitting in that facility for a year or two years! Some of those individuals may have gained permanent status!"
Basically the freeholders got a list of detained people who have been charged with crimes, and O'Dea is tearing it down. "Whether you have issues with the facility or not...it doesn't change the reality, it's wrong the way ICE operates."
"It's wrong that people who should otherwise be free are being held. We can't say we're being compassionate."

He's going right after Cifelli's favorite talking point there. This is a welcome surprise. That email backfired, I think. Got O'Dea pissed.
"They're not being corrected, they're not being rehabilitated, they're being held hostage, after paying their debt to society. That's why I think we should end this contract."

Torres and Cifelli ask to speak.
Cifelli: "OK, so only some freeholders can speak."


Vainieri: "No, but if we comment after every speaker we're not getting out of here."

Torres: "Was that email O'Dea mentioned sent to the full board? Because I don't recall getting that email."

It wasn't.
Vainieri basically says freeholders should comment after the public, if possible.

Next speaker another councillor.
"On a Tuesday before Thanksgiving we are making a decision about undermining the core values of Hudson County."

Good start, good start.

Goes after the budget-based justification.
Then goes after the notion that this is for punishing "bad people for serious crimes", thanks O'Dea for that.

This is someone who sat on the correctional advisory board, which saw a lot of discussion about conditions.
"I would have hoped to see the same kind of discussion about this contract."

"While I would prefer that the county vote no today, I at least ask that you clarify and reduce the timeframe associated with this contract."
Next councilman. Also from Hoboken. Talks about 2018, the commitment to phase out of the contract. "I'm asking you on behalf of the most diverse city in the entire nation, a city with over 400,000 immigrants, to end this contract."
"While I recognize the Biden administration will take a far different approach to undocumented immigrants, the fact of the matter is we aren't there, and we don't know what the approach will be."

"We can't repeat the errors of the past."
"Over the past 4 years Trump has shaped ICE into an organization that supports a racist agenda."

"In voting against the renewal of this contract, we send a strong message that we stand for the American Dream."
"Please send a strong message throughout the nation, Hudson County welcomes our immigrant brothers and sisters."

Wraps, next councilman.
Rodriguez is now on the phone with someone and not paying attention at all.

This councilor is represented by Torres, who is a firm "no".

"Any agreement with ICE is going to put us in an unethical and immoral place. The county...is profiting of the warehousing of human beings."
Rodriguez is tuned in again.

"Our contract with ICE is immoral and unsustainable."

"Last but not least this body made a promise to exit this contract."
Goes after a county spokesperson for trying to weasel out of the promise to exit the contract.

"If you have changed your position that's fair, but we shouldn't pretend that what you're proposing today follows from that promise."
So we have heard from elected officials from both Hoboken and JC.

On to the public comments.
First speaker is a member of the Hoboken Democratic Committee. Who is married to an immigrant. And has an adopted son who is an immigrant.

"I was recently a patient at Hoboken medical center, and the vast majority of staff, nurses, and doctors, are immigrants."
"How can you, our elected officials, vote in favor of this contract that will put more people into our inhumane immigration system. Are you not people of conscience?"

On that note Cifelli has wandered off.
"I believe that profits from the contract with ICE are reprehensible, and shame on the freeholders who vote yes."
"May you all vote no and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving."

Ahhh, civility.

Next speaker! From JC. "In 2018 it was voted to phase out this contract, it's ridiculous that we are now voting on renewing it."
Next speaker. Also from JC. Also against the contract.

"We were supposed to exit December 2020, and that should remain."

Next speaker. "I am delighted to hear all the opposition to the ICE contract from the speakers so far."
"The contract with ICE makes those of us in Hudson County part of deportation machine that is inhumane. I moved to North Bergen 23 years ago, and I moved here because of the values of Hudson County. This contract is a betrayal."
Cifelli came back by the way.

Next speaker echoes O'Dea's points. Brings up the pandemic. Several speakers have brought up that (very good point).

Notes that this was the issue that got the speaker involved with the board of freeholders.
Calls to end the contract immediately. "As a resident of NJ I am uncomfortable with any county in the state working with ICE."

Hell, I'll go for every state in the union with that one.
Next speaker, also against the ICE contract.

"The ICE contract doesn't have a valid reason to continue."

Next speaker, bit of a burst of static.
"I am reading on behalf of someone else because this undemocratic sham of meeting was timed at 1pm, when most working people can't make it. The democratic party that runs Hudson County is undemocratic, who knew!"

I cannot convey the shade in text so here:
Reading the statement of a pastor who could not attend, but was present at the vote two years ago.

"The money has been the motivation in other places for continuing the contract, let that not be the case here, let our common humanity take priority over monetary gain."
Nice new testament quote (I assume, I dunno it so good) and done.

Next speaker, "I am opposed to any contract between Hudson County and ICE." You love to hear it.

"Waiting to see what a Biden administration will do is, to quote DeGise, just kicking the can down the road."
"This is an agency that has a mission rooted in xenophobia and ethnic cleansing. As the descendant of German immigrants, I do not use those terms lightly, as I have a debt to pay. Never again means never again."
"It's a statement to our neighboring counties that they need to follow our example."

Very well said.

Next speaker, association of legal aid attorneys, testifying in the capacity of their lawyers union that represents detained people at Hudson County.
"I am asking you to end the country and work diligently with advocates and attorneys to return the detained people in Hudson county jail to their families and communities."

"I represent people in Hudson County jail right now."

That should get Cifelli's attention, but doesn't.
Cifelli is moving his laptop somewhere.

Meanwhile the lawyer is talking about the hunger strikes detained people at Hudson County have undertaken, and the conditions their clients have experienced. With horrific, precise detail.
"If I advocate to improve the conditions of my clients behind bars, I am ignored, both by ICE and by the jail itself."

"If you vote to continue this contract, you will not be doing the right thing, you will not be the hero, you will not be serving the people of Hudson County."
"If someone dies on your watch, which is a genuine concern I have for the detained people I represent, that is on you."

Cifelli asks to speak. It did get his attention.
Asks about a hunger strike, which is ongoing at Bergen but not at Hudson.

There was one at Hudson earlier this year.

He's...cross-examining her kind of.
Talks about the Nov. 17 letter from the NYIFUP walking back their previous position of 'don't cancel the contract' to "we hold no position."

Speaker clarifies that they are speaking for themself, and Cifelli thanks them for the clarification.

Next speaker from Union City. Can't hear them because there's too much noise from the chamber.

Asks the chambers and Cifelli to mute themselves.

Cifelli takes personal umbrage at the notion that he's not listening, that wasn't directed to him.

He doesn't know how to mute -_-
Right moving on.

Goes after the fact that the community hasn't seen the contract, and ICE's myriad crimes.

"Do you want to be complicit in caging people? Do you want to be complicit in the death and violence that has been inflicted on women's bodies."
Next speaker. Recalls the previous hunger strike in Hudson and the ongoing strike in Bergen.

"Indefinite detention is a form of torture." 🔥🔥🔥🔥

"I teach a class on immigration." This is a professor. They literally have a *degree* in this.
"The policy of separating children from their families - which in some way you are also voting for - is morally reprehensible."

"Vote no, get out of the chambers, and start feeding people, because your fellow citizens are hungry."
"I hope I don't have to go back and tell my students that the Hudson County freeholders, though not for immigrants, voted to renew the ICE contract."

"What makes our internment different from those of the Nazis, exactly?"

Yeah professors don't mess around with public speaking.
Next speaker, "If you vote yes to the contract, you are signing a death warrant."

"I know you hope we weren't paying attention, but we are, and we will remember how you voted."

You know how twitter goes into the library of congress? Yeah, this is on all kinds of record.
Next speaker is a Rhodes scholar commended by the JC board of education (genuine good job them, that's awesome).

"I want to talk as someone who grew up in JC, who lives here, and who wants to practice medicine here."
Beautiful personal experience of the incredible diversity of JC.

Talks abt learning WW2 in high school. "They didn't leave out how this country interned Japanese people. I understood even then that indefinite detention and detainment without due process is immoral."
Y'all show me how you can socially distance in a prison cell."

"I'm not here to tell you to abolish ICE, I know you can't do that...I'm telling you you can stand up to this violence, and say not here, not in Hudson County."
Next speaker from NY chapter of SURJ, sharing testimony from someone detained by ICE at Hudson County Jail.

"Friends told me you were having a hearing today to decide whether to let ICE detain people like me in Hudson County Jail. I am asking you to cancel the contract."
This person was detained for two years at HudCo. Had to represent themself, with no lawyer, no translator...

"When I lost my case in 2019, my appeal papers never got to me. I went to the library to find an appeal packet, but told none were available."
"The only person who helped me was a fellow detainee who gave me his appeal packet to copy."

Filed a lawsuit, pro se, when COVID hit the Hudson County Jail. Finally got a lawyer. FINALLY. And then got released on bond.
"I had to go on hunger strike just to get someone from ICE to talk to me."

No matter how many times I hear this kind of testimony, I am filled with rage at the incredible shittiness of our entire carceral state.
Speaker was almost transferred to Alabama and saved only by the incompetence of the HudCo jail failing to get a COVID test in time. "ICE will transfer people regardless."
Next speaker is a union colleague of mine.

"ICE is a terrorist organization, it was created to terrorize to hurt, terrorize, and cage people, especially black and brown immigrants."
"Please end the contract. ICE represents the worst of us. ICE does not bring security, it hurts communities, it hurts people, it is a force for trauma."

"I'm at a loss to explain why this is a contract that needs to be renewed."
"Just know that word will spread about what this body of freeholders are choosing to do. People will vote, they will remember this vote, and they will demand more from their freeholders."
Next speaker, from JC.

"We live in a sanctuary city, because we care for neighbors. Allowing ICE to use our jails is contrary to everything we stand for. If you vote to allow ICE to use our county jail, you will also lose my vote."
Next speaker, works at Rutgers - Newark.

Notes that people have argued, very well, that this is an immoral, unjustifiable contract. "You know that, so I'm going to talk about something else."

Correctional officer well-being.
Brings up the overtime/underhiring issues again. "Why would someone not want to take a job at the jail? These jobs are dehumanizing and dangerous...with COVID even more dangerous than they were in the past."

"The first LE officer to die of COVID in NJ was a CO at HudCo Jail."
The HudCo CO union (booo cop unions) said up to 60% of its members had tested positive for COVID. And the suicide and PTSD stats.

I am limited in my capacity for sympathy for cops and COs, but yeah, it sucks. Quit. Do something else. For you and for everyone else.
"How do we create county jobs that are socially productive?"

A history teacher from RU-N, most of their students are from north NJ. "They don't like Trump, but they don't like democrats either, because they feel they are abandoned by the democrats."
Absolutely castigating the freeholders for the 1pm Tuesday meeting, and this issue, and basically says "they don't trust you AND THIS IS WHY."

"Vote no, or if not, carry the vote to later meeting and talk to the stakeholders."
Next speaker is from Bergen county, but reading a statement from someone who was incarcerated at HudCo by ICE. Someone from Ghana, who was released about a year ago.
"While there, I was subjected to harsh treatment, and consequences for unnecessary actions."

"The staff were not properly trained in how to deal with the detainees, overworked, and understaffed, leading to 18-hour lockdowns and no library or recreational access."
"Shut down the Hudson County jail."

Speaking as me now, please say no to this contract, and if you can't say no, please table it and speak to the stakeholders. It's bad for everybody."

This person has a very slow and soothing voice, by the way. Easy listening, hard words.
Next speaker is a professor at The New School in NYC. The child of undocumented immigrants themselves.

"The immigration system grew out of the anti-black racism of the 1980s."

Yeah the history here is unambiguous.
"Hudson county has a particular role to that history of expansion [of the carceral state]." I can't transcribe the whole lecture.

"You need to do more than vote against the renewal of this contract, and you do need to vote against renewing this contract."
"It is possible to vote to end this contract responsibly."

"When ending the contract you need to become an advocate for immigrant communities."
"You need to be able to advocate on behalf of your communities to ICE, and work with lawyers and advocates like ourselves to make sure they return home."

Time called.

Last second talks to Cifelli, "I am sad to see you hide behind people's stories to say you have an open ear..."
cut off on time. Feh.

Next speaker is a law student and a fellow at the immigration law clinic.

"I join with many advocates in asking you to end your contract with ICE."

"Renewing this contract is contrary to this county's values and history."
"It undermines the responsibility of county government to the public." 🔥🔥

"In the interim the county should suspend accepting new ICE detainment, and work with advocates and lawyers to reunite families."

Yes. Absolutely.
"I want to know that my immigrant neighbors feel safe. And feel safe reporting crime." I have iffy feelings about the accommodation of the police state there, but there is a point about public services in general. Immigrant communities fear state services they need.
"While the county receives money from ICE, immigrants remain detained, families remain separated, and undocumented immigrants are preyed upon."

"Where Hudson county invests its resources today will send a strong message about our values."
Cifelli wants to comment again.

Encourages him at Rutgers Law, being a Rutgers Law alum himself.

"How, if we end the contract today, how as an attorney would the immigration status of the 70-odd men be changed?"
"I can't speak as an attorney, being a law student...but I can share a little bit."

"Immigration is civil, not criminal, they could be home."
Cifelli's asks "what is the guarantee that if we close the facility today, those individuals would be allowed go back to their families?"
"The issue before us is whether to extend the contract or not. If we vote to end the contract, how does that help the individual client?"
"I leave that to the attorneys on the call"

There are, at that. I look forward to seeing one of them go after Cifelli.
Next speaker, a comrade from Central Jersey. Shares the case of a detained person at Hudson who died, and on autopsy was found to have been tortured and fed actual trash.

Audio is being cut off from noise in the board room, which is infuriating.
"If the freeholders are truly concerned for the people who are detained, please listen to their request to end the contract."

Vainieri announces a surprise five-minute break for the stenographer.

It's been two hours, and yeah, I sympathize.
The Story So Far has been pretty much like it went last time. O'Dea and Torres are hard "no" votes. Cifelli is stuck on this idea that it's bad for the detained people to end the contract (it isn't, at worst it's break-even). Most of the freeholders are tuning this out.
Not one single person has spoken in favor of the contract. not one. You would think that having 75+ speakers speaking against it on a TUESDAY AFTERNOON alone would convince so-called representatives that this is a bad idea but not for @HudCoTweet !
Everyone is muted so there are no amusing hot mic pick-ups, though Cifelli, while muted, is on the phone and gesturing quite a bit. My guess is Vainieri, Romano, or DeGise twisting his arm.
A little bit of lip reading says it's definitely about this issue. I can't pick up a lot but I do see "I said this before the meeting and..."

He got up and left, wonder if someone tipped him off.
Well, we're at 8 minutes now.

I think Vainieri mostly wanted a bathroom break, because all three of the members in the chamber are still absent. The stenographer is back and ready to go.
Vainieri returns, board room unmutes to Romano's deafening voice.

Cifelli returns.

Checks if he's unmuted. He is definitively unmuted.

Everyone filters back in.
Vainieri asks for roll call to make sure they have quorum. O'Dea is still out of the chamber. He's the only one not back yet.

Romano speaks up, there's another Hoboken official who should be in the queue.
O'Dea is back, Vainieri asks who this person is, Romano "she's a director of something" quietly.

This is the chair of the Hoboken Democratic Committee, and member of the correctional advisory committee.
Reading a letter signed by members of the Democratic Committee and the councilors who spoke earlier.

"Our county is a bastion of democratic values, and we have an opportunity to reaffirm that commitment by not renewing the contract with ICE."
"We understand there are financial implications, and we want to be your partners in addressing that challenge. We know there are job implications, and we want to be your partners in addressing those challenges too."
Basically argues that this agreement is a holdover from a very long time ago that should be discarded.

It is.

Describing the correctional advisory committee as a progressive step, and this as a next step.
"We need to see the contract, be engaged in discussion, and have the opportunity to weigh in."

The unmuted board room is really cutting into stuff.
"I'm terrified that if we do not specify an end date and our government does not roll back these terrible immigration policies we will be stuck being part of this awful system."

Ends. Torres comments on noise from the chambers.
Next speaker, a 13-year resident of Hoboken. "You may remember me from a few years ago, working to shoot down 287(g)" (not sure what that is).

This person recently became a citizen and was able to vote for the first time in 2020.
"According to these calculations, Hudson County might be losing money on this contract."

"This is the time to take the power from ICE, it's over. And even if you need to take time to renew, why are you rushing it? Do your due diligence and make a proper and educated decision"
"As Mr. Cifelli brought up, he has all these legal questions that need to be answered." Oh nice little rhetorical judo. Cifelli was off the call at that time, by the way. He just rejoined.

Next a comment on the meeting time from someone who could not attend.
Cifelli is unmuted and speaking in the background.

Argues that this meeting violates OPMA. Argues that the definition of "Adequate notice" is violated by the fact that the caucus meeting was yesterday, less than 48 hours prior ot this meeting.

"The agenda for this meeting was not provided to the public until 9:27am this morning, and any action taken at this meeting would be deemed illegal and subject to a civli rights lawsuit."

Well that's interesting.
Another person represented by Walker being ghosted.

Santos calls time.

Next up...me
I asked him what the budgetary advantage was, whether any of the detained people he spoke to wanted to stay in Hudson County Jail, if the county had a way out,
re: budget "I didn't get answer that were overly exact, but that's not my concern. My concern is with the 79 people there now."
"The contract, if extended, would allow the county to terminate the contract on 60 days notice."

"You are my only constituent vote from Kearny who has voiced a negative vote." Another constituent who was able to testify. "Did anyone say affirmatively keep them there? No."
"Did any of them ask to renew the contract or stay there? Yes." Says that of the dozen or so people he spoke to "If the contract ended today, do you know where you would go? No. I asked them if they were anxious about it and they said yes."
"There was another individual not in that group, detained for almost 3 years in different facilities, and his response was he wanted the contract terminated because that's the only way that would bring an end to ICE's corrupt practices."
I have been stopped from answering Cifelli that "they were anxious about the uncertainty". That's not enough. Never was.

Vainieri shouted me down.

Fuck you, Vainieri.
Next speaker briefly speaks eloquently against the ICE contract. I was a little distracted, sorry. O'Dea asks to be recognized.
O'Dea follows up with Cifelli's statement. Says at the time that he was talking about, he was playing chess.

O'Dea reminds Cifelli that when they first arrived the detained people were shy and unwilling to talk. He engaged with one over chess.
"Some of the comments that precipitated the question were things like 'would you rather be in Arizona than here'. The way the question was asked may have influenced the response."

Thank you O'Dea.
Follows up to ask Cifelli "Would you support the amendment of this contract that no detained people are added to the facility, and those there remain until all their cases are adjudicated, at which point we end the contract."

I'd rather put a deadline on it...
But I do appreciate O'Dea going after Cifelli's argument.

Well that's a tidbit. ROMANO interpreted for Cifelli.

Cifelli: "I don't think my questions to those gentlemen were leading."

O'Dea clarifies he wasn't accusing him of that. Someone else asked that question.
Cifelli says "go to the tapes."

There was a documentary filmmaker with them (you may remember this from last meeting) who caught this conversation.

I think O'Dea has the line on how to get Cifelli.
Romano following up. "I know in our conversations with the detainees we never mentioned another location or another state per se, we just used another site."

"Mr. Chair you should as the chair the schedule of the meetings is out a year in advance."
Next speaker, a voting resident of Weehawken, will first be reading a statement from a friend in North Bergen. Vainieri laughs for some reason.

Statement is from a person working for NJ Alliance for Immigrant Justice.
"This vote should not be taking place because this body committed to ending the contract by the end of 2020. This contract will reinforce the double punishment immigrants face."
"As immigrant advocates, we believe that the rights and well-being of the people at the Hudson County Jail takes precedence...Ending the contract at county jails is a key step in reuniting families."
"Freeholders, do not hide behind the false rhetoric of wanting to keep people close to their families. Take responsibility for your collaboration with a system that balances the county budget on the back of the immigrant members of our community." 🔥🔥
"Lead the way in ending NJ's ties with a rogue agency that supports white supremacy."

Now speaking as themselves.

"It's been made clear the majority of your constituents are against renewing this contract."
Talks about the op-eds, signed letters, and other press statements *unanimously* against this contract. Quote Cifelli on not knowing the financial details, and says we've been trying to find out since March and haven't been able to. Time.
Next speaker is repping an organization of street food merchants. As the county and NJ faces an increase in COVID cases, the county cannot continue to cage people.

Reads the story of someone detained at HudCo jail, an immigrant ripped from his family...
...with multiple chronic health conditions. Kept in detention until March 23rd and released due to his health conditions.

Speaker asks to mute the chamber which is again cutting them off.
"He came home traumatized, forced into poverty, and fearful that he could be taken away again."

Calls out Cifelli, Walker, Cedeno, and Rodriguez specifically by name to end the contract.
"This contract is for the longest term possible."

"People are dying for the lack of PPE, and people are trapped in their cells."

Cedes time.
Next speaker from a legal support services firm that helps people in detention get legal resources, and connect them with housing and quarantine housing.

"Our organization strongly opposes the continuation of the Hudson County ICE contract, as we oppose all such contracts."
"We know that the provision of more bed space for ICE just leads to more people detained. We see no justification, moral, financial, or otherwise to continue this contract."
"We insist you stop falsely claiming that advocates of immigrants are in favor of renewing this contract."
Talks about ending the Middlesex ICE contract.

"I have never heard anyone say, 'gee I wish we still ahd that ICE contract here."

Calls out Vainieri's comment that "they didn't have a contract" two weeks ago.
Next speaker, North Bergen. "I love and respect my community, including those who have arrived from other countries to make a better life for themselves, regardless of their legal status."

Calls out the timing of the meeting. "This body does not care about its voters."🔥🔥🔥🔥
"Whatever solution to the pressing issues of immigration we pursue, they must not involve an organization riddled with white supremacists, frequently operating outside the law and constitution, and cooperating with a racist administration."
"Our call to higher principles has been characterized as grandiosity..." goes after the length of the contract.

"That this contract is even under consideration is abhorrent. Who will speak in its favor? Who will justify collaboration with a racist, sexist, violent agency?"
Next speaker. From Hoboken, a mother of 2.

"I grew up in a place where our word means everything." Goes after the 2018 commitment.

"I would like to extend my gratitude for the grassroots organizers, the law students, the faith leaders for standing with immigrants."
Closes thanking Torres for his service, as this is his last term.

Next speaker reads the experience of a friend who was detained at Hudson County for six months at the start of the pandemic.
He was alone for the entire time, confined in his cell for all but 30 minutes a day. "5 minutes bathing, 5 minutes heating food, 5 minutes calling his family, about whom he was extremely worried."
"At the beginning of the pandemic, the bathroom, the microwaves, the phones, none of them were cleaned, none were disinfected. When he had his 30 minutes out of his cell, it was up to him to clean them to keep himself safe. He had no antibacterial soap or hand sanitizer."
got 3 masks for the entire duration of the pandemic. When he asked ICE for more, they would said it was the jail's fault, and when he spoke to someone from the jail, they said it was up to ICE.
"He called it torture, and he does not use that word lightly given his life experience."

"His brother died in early May, and of course he was not able to speak with him or see him before he passed away."
"During lockdown, the bad food at the jail became inedible. There were no cooks at the jail. Each day they got baloney and two pieces of bread, or pasta. If they had pasta for breakfast, they got the same pasta for lunch."
"He told me he skipped meals several times because the food was so bad."

Talks about the pandemic experience, even when there were known cases testing was impossible. In the middle of the summer the jail conducted antibody tests.
His experience of the antibody test: "When his friend went to get tested, he saw a vial filled with blood, marked with his own name. A week later, everyone got their test back except for my friend. He asked about it and nobody was able to answer his questions."
Time called.

Brutal, and shut a lot people up.

O'Dea: "At the end of the public speakers, let's get director Edwards in here to answer those questions."

Vainieri "At the end of the meeting, sure."
Next speaker. Someone in Rodriguez's district. Rodriguez is here, but had camera off, they called her out.

Was there two years ago. Was there a week and a half ago. And then the word this weekend that it would be on the agenda today.
"I want to address this idea of 'If we don't profit off of detainees someone else will'." Thank you. Notes our county is uniquely close to a lot of international airports.

"While some detainees transferred, making every deportation cost more will decrease deportations."
Next speaker. Another law student from Rutgers Law, also from the Center for Immigration Law, Policy, and Justice.

Cifelli makes a noise.

287g agreements were the agreements to coordinate between law enforcement and ICE.
Talks about the directive at the state level keeping local law enforcement from working with ICE. "This intergovernmental service agreement keeps those ties."

Yep. If you won't let your cops work with ICE, why let your jails?
Talks about the lawsuits brought by people currently and formerly detained at HudCo jail.

"By ICE's own admission, one of their own employees and 14 detainees have been infected with COVID-19 due to the county's inability to protect them."
Ends by following up with Cifelli's question to the other law student. "Ending the contract will stop these abuses going forward, and stop more people from being detained in this facility in the future."
Cifelli has a response, because of course he does. His response is "We are advocates for specific clients" with a really smarmy intonation on "clients."

Santos gets a delivery of food while Cifelli natters on about "how would this help one specific client at the facility?"
"You're going to be put on the spot by judges many times in the future, and asked how your position helps the position of your client. How does our vote help any of the 70 individuals there?"
Response: "This is about making sure this county does not engage in policies going forward that harm immigrant communities."

I think O'Dea has the line on Cifelli in prohibiting ICE from adding more detained people to the jail.
Next speaker asks for a translator. None is forthcoming. Asks for another speaker who can translate, who is unmuted, and will translate for the speaker. Torres helps coordinate this.

Testimony begins in Spanish.
Translation begins. A member of "make the road NJ", and has experienced family separation firsthand.

"In Feb 2020 a relative was detained, leaving behind his wife and children. Someone who has lived, worked, and paid taxes in NJ for 25 years."
"It is not fair that our families are ripped apart to make money for our county government."

"Today it is in your hands for Hudson county to enter history as an inclusive place, or a supporter of an agency that traumatizes our children."
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