These 3 N.J. counties are raking in millions on Trump’s immigration crackdown. Here’s how.
By Kelly Heyboer | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Some of New Jersey’s biggest county governments are making millions holding detained immigrants for the federal government as the Trump administration continues its crackdown on illegal immigration, according to a new report.
Hudson, Bergen and Essex counties are being paid a total of $6 million a month to hold immigrants in their county jails for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to data collected by WNYC radio.
The money ICE pays the New Jersey counties has climbed 46 percent between January 2015 and March 2018, according to invoices provided to WNYC by the counties.
About 2,000 immigrants can be held at the three county jails, the report said. Many are immigrants living in the country illegally who are awaiting deportation hearings. Others are applying for asylum. Some can stay in the jails for years.
Here are the average monthly payments by ICE to the three counties, according to the WNYC report:
Average monthly payment from ICE in 2015: $1,862,748
Average monthly payment from ICE in 2018: $2,755,818
Increase: 48 percent
Average monthly payment from ICE in 2015: $1,276,155
Average monthly payment from ICE in 2018: $1,953,820
Increase: 53 percent
Average monthly payment from ICE in 2015: $355,373
Average monthly payment from ICE in 2018: $1,114,556
Increase: 214 percent
Why are county jails holding immigrants for ICE?
The federal agency has hundreds of contracts with local jails and private prison contractors to hold immigrant detainees.
Last year, ICE had contracts with nearly 850 local governments and federal authorities around the country to detain immigrants, according to data gathered by CityLab. Many of the contracts paid the local jails about $110 a day per inmate.
ICE also uses privately-run facilities, including the Elizabeth Contract Detention Facility, to hold detainees.
Immigrants detained by ICE are held under civil, not criminal, law. But many are held under criminal-like conditions.
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