Saturday, May 11, 2024

NJ’s Ban On Immigrant Detention Centers Challenged in Fiery Lawsuit as $100M Contract Hangs in Balance; Company Aims to Open ICE Facility in NJ Despite Law Against It

A Florida company that wants to open a new immigrant detention center in Newark is suing to overturn New Jersey’s ban on the facilities — claiming the policy violates the Constitution.
The GEO Group said in its lawsuit that the state ban is torpedoing its plans for Delaney Hall, a privately-run, 1,196-bed facility that has variously held county, state and federal detainees over the last 25 years.
That could cost GEO a lot of money — namely, a contract with US Immigration and Customs and Enforcement worth more than $100 million, the lawsuit said.
The group’s attorneys claim that the state had no right to pass the law because it violates the Constitution’s supremacy clause — which says federal law generally takes precedence over any state laws that contradict it.
“[The law] undermines and blocks implementation and enforcement of congressionally funded and approved immigration law … within the State of New Jersey,” the suit said.
“[The law] is therefore in conflict with federal immigration law, interferes with the purpose behind federal immigration law, presents a substantial obstacle to the purposes of Congress in enacting federal immigration law and, in intruding into federal immigration law, improperly enters into an area where Congress has manifested its intent to occupy the entire field.”
Garden State Gov. Phil Murphy and Attorney General Matthew Platkin have been named as defendants in the litigation, filed April 15 in Trenton federal court.
Murphy’s office did not respond to a request for comment, while representatives for both ICE and the attorney general declined to comment.
New Jersey has a complicated history with immigrant detention centers, which made Bergen, Essex and Hudson counties tens of millions of dollars before Murphy signed the August 2021 ban, according to the NJ Monitor. --->READ MORE HERE
AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File
Company aims to open ICE facility in NJ despite law against it:
A private prison company wants to open an immigrant detention facility in Newark, New Jersey, but state law may prevent it from happening.
In addition, the New Jersey Monitor reported Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said all legal avenues are on the table to stop GEO Group from opening its 600-bed facility.
A state law passed in 2021 bans state, local and private jail operators from entering contracts providing for the detaining of immigrants.
“To see them coming back is shocking and frustrating, that they continue to look at us as an opportunity to open up these ICE facilities that we rejected once, and we want to reject it again,” Baraka said during an interview with the New Jersey Monitor. “These guys need to know that we don’t want them here before they even try to get here, and hopefully that changes their mind.”
GEO Group, in a lawsuit filed in federal court last week, claimed the 2021 law is unconstitutional and will stop them from signing a $100 million contract with U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement to house migrants at a center located next to Essex County’s jail, the Monitor wrote. In August, a federal judge ruled that part of the state’s law is unconstitutional, which let CoreCivic keep immigrants detained in a facility in Elizabeth. --->READ MORE HERE
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