COLLEEN O’DEA | FEBRUARY 27, 2017
Advocates and immigrants urge lawmakers to make New Jersey a sanctuary state, one that will not cooperate with ICE if it makes broad sweeps of undocumented communities
Immigrants and advocates concerned about the national crackdown on the undocumented may have a sympathetic ally in legislative Democrats, but it’s doubtful Gov. Chris Christie will support any of their suggestions for protecting those born abroad who consider New Jersey their home.
Testifying to high levels of fear and anxiety among the state’s immigrant communities, a number of lawyers and advocates, as well as two undocumented young people, told an Assembly committee last Friday that the state and local governments should take steps to protect immigrants, or at least turn a blind eye to the recently launched federal crackdown on the undocumented. One even suggested that New Jersey declare itself a sanctuary that refuses to help federal authorities arrest the undocumented.
“You should consider passing a resolution declaring New Jersey a sanctuary state and risk losing federal funds,” the Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale, a Highland Park pastor whose Interstate-RISE organization recently was approved as a refugee resettlement agency, urged the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Reform and Federal Relations Committee. Kaper-Dale, who is running for governor under the banner of the Green Party, termed the Trump administration’s executive orders and policies regarding immigration “a planned and coordinated attack based on race and ethnicity.”