Mayor of city with many Fil-Ams bolsters sanctuary status
JERSEY CITY, New.Jersey — Democratic Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop signed an executive order Friday, Feb. 3 strengthening policies around the city’s status for people living in the country illegally, despite the threat from President Donald Trump to slash federal funding.
The move could set up a showdown with Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has expressed support for Trump’s order that Justice Department and Homeland Security funds be withheld from towns that bar local officials from communicating with federal authorities about someone’s immigration status.
(Jersey City has the second highest percentage of Filipino residents – about 17,500 — of any New Jersey town behind Bergenfield.)
The order signed by Fulop outlines a policy for the city’s police department and other agencies to work with the immigrant community. It is designed to prevent city resources from being used to enforce federal immigration law in a city in which 40 percent of the population is foreign-born.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, a Democrat, also vowed last week to protect undocumented immigrants. The term “sanctuary city” generally refers to communities that do not cooperate with federal immigration officials.
Christie said on Fox News he supports Trump’s proposal to slash aid but the federal government has to give states the tools to help with the enforcement of immigration laws.
“I think this has got to be something that the federal government has got to do. And if they do it, if they take the action that is necessary, then I think we’re going to have federal law enforcement done at every level,” Christie said Thursday night. “But the fact is that governors can’t do that on their own, they need the federal government as a partner.”
Meanwhile, Democratic U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey announced Friday his proposed legislation to repeal a 1990s law that delegated certain immigration enforcement responsibilities to state and local agencies.
Booker said that although the program has since been scaled back, at least 32 law enforcement agencies in 16 states still abide by it. He said the program diverts local law enforcement resources from their primary duties, dissuades immigrants from reporting crimes and invites racial profiling.