NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) released the following statement:

“No governmental entity in New Jersey should be accepting money from ICE to detain individuals, particularly when the agency continues to pursue inhumane, xenophobic policies designed to terrorize and rip apart immigrant families; it has to stop.
“As a former mayor, I understand the tremendous local fiscal and other challenges caused by the pandemic, but I do not believe taking blood money from ICE, to turn our jails into waystations for deportations for nonviolent, non-criminal immigration detainees, is consistent with our values nor is it in the best interests of our communities. 
“With the incoming Biden Administration, there is an opportunity for sweeping reforms at ICE to dramatically reduce the number of people in detention and return to its core national security mission, which has been corruptly transformed under President Trump into a deportation force.  This has been my long-time fight.
“But we cannot wait while peaceful, otherwise law-abiding immigrants are going on hunger strikes because they are being housed in crowded detention centers despite the increased risk of contracting COVID-19.  The Trump Administration should do the humane thing and release undocumented immigrants from detention who pose no public safety threat to our community; the objective must be to save lives.”