New Jersey is Now a Sanctuary State: the Fight Back Has Just Begun
By David Jaroslav | March 29, 2019
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal’s directive turning the state into a sanctuary for illegal aliens became effective on March 15th. But from the halls of the State House in Trenton to a town hall on the Jersey Shore, common sense is already pushing back in the Garden State. This is a fight that has just begun, and while no one should think it’ll be easy, it is winnable.
At the stroke of a pen, New Jersey’s unelected AG—he was appointed by Governor Phil Murphy (D)—decreed that every state and local law enforcement agency must stop almost all cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
FAIR’s 2018 survey of sanctuary jurisdictions nationwide found five of New Jersey’s 21 counties and 17 of its 565 municipalities to be sanctuaries. Now, overnight, all of them have been commanded that they have to be. And not even based on a law passed by the elected legislature as in states like California, Oregon or Illinois, but the mere order of a single unelected executive official.
A couple of state lawmakers already aren’t taking this lying down. Senator Joe Pennacchio (R) represents parts of Essex, Morris and Passaic counties. Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R) represents parts of Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties. They’ve introduced companion bills in each chamber of the legislature that are targeted at one group of criminal aliens you’d certainly hope everyone could agree should be deported: sex offenders.
Megan’s Law, requiring sex offender registration, was born in New Jersey from the horrific 1994 rape and strangulation of Mercer County resident Megan Kanka. Under Pennacchio’s and Dancer’s legislation, Senate Bill (SB) 3572 and Assembly Bill (AB) 5196, Megan’s Law would be extended to require sex offender registration for those charged or convicted of sex crimes in their home countries, and to require state and local law enforcement to report illegal alien sex offenders in their custody to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Sen. Pennacchio says, “[q]uite frankly, I think they belong out of the country. We don’t need them. We have enough issues in our country without having to import that kind of crime.”
Meanwhile, the Township of Little Egg Harbor, in Ocean County, is already the first of hopefully many more New Jersey municipalities to stand up to AG Grewal, Gov. Murphy and the dangerous recklessness embodied in the sanctuary directive.
On March 14, the day before the directive went into effect, the Governing Body (town council) of the growing Atlantic City suburban beach town passed an anti-sanctuary resolution, urging the governor and legislature, “to reevaluate their position and to instead focus on the health, safety and general welfare of the resident[s] and taxpayers of the State of New Jersey”, and declaring that “Little Egg Harbor Township shall never become a sanctuary city and that all local, state, and federal laws shall be strictly enforced [.]”
Deputy Mayor John Kehm (R) said “[t[he governor’s campaign to make New Jersey a sanctuary state is not good for the township … We won’t harbor illegal immigrants. We take an oath to protect and serve our residents and he (the governor) is not allowing us to do that.” Then Kehm called on nearby communities to follow Little Egg Harbor’s lead.
The start of a flood of opposition? It could be. And should be. Keep in mind, it took only one city, Los Alamitos, to start the dominoes tumbling in California until now more than a dozen cities and counties have stood up in defiance against that state’s sanctuary law. And even in California, that was a law imposed by an elected legislature, not an appointed unaccountable prosecutor.