Ever since the state enacted new rules in March for dealing with federal immigration authorities, there has been local pushback in communities that view the directive as a possible obstacle to deterring crime.

The rules, first outlined by state Attorney General Grubir Grewal last fall, are designed to help immigrant communities not fear cooperating with law enforcement.

Grewal has said that nothing in the directive limits New Jersey law enforcement agencies from enforcing state law – and nothing in the directive should be read to imply that New Jersey provides “sanctuary” to those who commit crimes in this state.

Still, the following municipalities and at least one county have gone "on record" as being opposed to discouraging cooperation with federal agents on any issues involving unauthorized immigrants.

  • Parsippany-Troy Hills (Morris County)
    The township council approved a resolution at its April 16 meeting, opposing New Jersey acting as a sanctuary "city" or state and resolving that Parsippany "never becomes a sanctuary city." There were contentious moments at the meeting, as Mayor Michael Soriano and some Council members sparred over wording of the resolution, and possible misinterpretations of the statewide Immigrant Trust Directive.
  • Sussex County
    The Freeholder Board earlier this month passed a resolution to put a question on the ballot on whether local voters support the state's Immigrant Trust Directive. In a news release, Republican state Sen. Steve Oroho and Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths slammed "state directives from unelected bureaucrats undermining federal immigration laws."
  • Middletown (Monmouth County)
    Also this month, local officials passed their own resolution against "NJ becoming a Sanctuary State." "We can’t sit by and let Trenton compromise the safety of our residents," Mayor Tony Perry said at the meeting, as reported by The Two River Times. He also said “We will never consider becoming a sanctuary city.”
  • Freehold Township (Monmouth County)
    The Township Committee passed a resolution declaring it opposes New Jersey acting as a sanctuary state for immigrants who are in the country illegally. As reported by CentralJersey.com, the resolution said Freehold Township will not be "designated a sanctuary township and will not budget money for related unfunded state or federal mandates."
  • Jackson (Ocean County)
    The township's governing body in the fall passed a resolution against New Jersey acting as a sanctuary state even before the state attorney general officially had released the new rules. The resolution said the council “shall continue to put the needs of the residents of Jackson Township first and thereby determining that Jackson Township shall never be a sanctuary city.”

Gov. Phil Murphy first voiced his support for becoming a sanctuary state while campaigning for governor.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently announced the arrest of more than 100 people in New Jersey. According to the ICE office in Newark, the state's regulations did not affect the agency's ability to take anyone into custody and none were being held by any local agencies.

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