Author

Sophie Nieto-Munoz

Sophie Nieto-Munoz

Sophie Nieto-Muñoz, a New Jersey native and former Trenton statehouse reporter for NJ.com, shined a spotlight on the state’s crumbling unemployment system and won several awards for investigative reporting from the New Jersey Press Association. She was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for her report on PetSmart's grooming practices, which was also recognized by the New York Press Club. Sophie speaks Spanish and is proud to connect to the Latinx community through her reporting.

NYC congestion tax delay gives commuters temporary reprieve

By: - August 24, 2021

New Jerseysans who commute into Manhattan by car are getting a temporary reprieve from a new congestion tax that will hit motorists with a roughly $13 fee for driving below Central Park. The Metropolitan Transit Authority announced a potential two-year timeline to implement the long-stalled plan on Friday. New York officials blasted the MTA for the […]

Murphy won’t say if N.J. will extend extra unemployment benefits

By: - August 24, 2021

As the expiration date for pandemic-related unemployment benefits looms for over 500,000 New Jerseyans still relying on the weekly payments, Gov. Phil Murphy won’t say whether the state plans on extending those benefits. “No news on the unemployment extension,” he said during his weekly coronavirus press briefing Monday. The state Department of Labor also declined […]

Governor Phil Murphy signing a bill

Future ICE detention contracts banned by N.J. law

By: - August 20, 2021

Private and public New Jersey facilities are barred from signing contracts to imprison federal immigrant detainees under a new law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy Friday. Immigrant organizations, attorneys, and family members have advocated for years to end the lucrative business of immigrant detention in the Garden State. Murphy signed the bill quietly, without the […]

Undocumented residents falling deeper into debt as they await state stimulus

By: - August 20, 2021

Monica Galindo lost her husband just as the coronavirus pandemic hit New Jersey. After 20 years of marriage, the 44-year-old mother of three became the only breadwinner of her household. That same month, she lost her job cleaning houses as pandemic restrictions took hold, and fell behind on rent and light bills. As an undocumented […]

New Jersey adds 14,600 jobs as state recovers from pandemic

By: - August 19, 2021

Nearly 18 months since the coronavirus pandemic sent unemployment rates skyrocketing and shuttered businesses for months, New Jersey has recovered 62% of jobs lost, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said in a monthly jobs report. The state added 14,600 jobs in July, bringing the total number of jobs added since March 2020 to 441,700, […]

Essex County no longer in ICE business, but activists hold their cheers

By: - August 19, 2021

For 13 years, the Essex County jail that held undocumented immigrants was at the center of fiery protests and confrontations, both from activists protesting in the streets of Newark and the detainees staging hunger strikes inside. Essex County Correctional Facility finally ceded to activists this year and cut its contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs […]

Calls grow for N.J. to use federal aid to replenish unemployment fund

By: - August 17, 2021

A growing, bipartisan chorus of lawmakers and business groups are calling on New Jersey to use federal stimulus dollars to replenish the state’s unemployment trust fund. The pleas for help came as the state wrestles with how to restore the fund, which lost millions as jobless claims skyrocketed during the pandemic. The fund needs a […]

Businesses pray for hiring boom after fed unemployment benefits expire

By: - August 16, 2021

Nancy Mercurio is looking forward to Sept. 6. Mercurio, who owns a Haddon Heights dog sitting business, brought back most of her employees when appointments resumed in June 2020. A few didn’t want to come back, she said, so she’s had three positions open for months. The responses she’s gotten aren’t encouraging. Some interviewees don’t […]

Progressive activists call for investigation into senator for alleged ‘no-show job’

By: - August 13, 2021

Sen. Nicholas Scutari, who was the subject of several investigations into his job as Linden’s prosecutor, is facing intensifying criticism, now from a group of progressive Democrat activists who want the state’s Joint Legislative Committee of Ethical Standards to probe Scutari’s actions. One of the activists behind the ethics probe demand, Sue Altman, director of […]

Governor Phil Murphy speaking

Growing chorus of immigrant advocates urge Murphy to sign bill banning ICE contracts

By: - August 11, 2021

It’s been six weeks since immigration advocacy groups began urging Gov. Phil Murphy to sign the bill on his desk banning federal immigration detention center contracts. Now, those calls are mounting — even coming from across the Hudson River — as progressive groups press the Democrat to make New Jersey the fifth state to ban […]

N.J. continuously failed to keep women prisoners safe from sexual abuse, DOJ says

By: - August 10, 2021

After years of repeated sexual abuse committed at the hands of corrections officers in the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility, New Jersey officials reached an agreement with the federal government to overhaul the women’s prison system. On Tuesday the U.S. Department of Justice announced new reforms would be implemented at Edna Mahan, the state’s only women’s […]

N.J. cops can’t share immigration info with feds, appeals court decides

By: - August 10, 2021

New Jersey’s Immigrant Trust Directive, an order restricting authorities from sharing immigration information with federal officials, has been upheld by a federal appeals court, ending a legal battle between the state and two counties. The three-judge panel rejected the counties’ arguments that federal law pre-empts New Jersey from implementing the directive, which immigrant advocates say has […]