NJ Mayors Side with Immigrants

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka (Photo via Reporte Hispano)

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka (Photo via Reporte Hispano)

The mayors of cities with a strong Hispanic presence, such as Newark and Paterson, have raised their voices to defend immigrants from the uncertainty regarding the policies to be implemented by the new president of the United States.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who began issuing municipal IDs to local residents last year, took the first step.

“Newark already has a policy of protecting undocumented immigrants from deportation by U.S. immigration authorities. Despite the election of Donald Trump, we see no reason to change that policy,” said Baraka.

“Together with New York and Los Angeles, we do not hold undocumented inmates in jail at the request of the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unless the detainer request is accompanied by a judge’s order,” detailed the mayor.

“Undocumented immigrants who are arrested by the Newark Police Department for criminal activity continue to be subject to the law the same as criminal suspects who are American citizens.”

Baraka clarified that his office continues to strictly abide by federal law.

“In Newark, we comply with federal immigration agencies, but insist that detainer requests be handled constitutionally. I hope that no president would violate those principles, the very foundation of our nation, by taking punitive action against cities that are simply protecting the well-being of residents.”

For his part, Paterson Mayor José Torres, of Puerto Rican descent, asked new president Donald Trump to maintain executive orders such as DACA and others issued by exiting President Barack Obama.

“Voters and the ballot have spoken. As citizens of this great nation who respect the law, we must give an opportunity to the new president-elect, and he, in turn, should commit to working with us,” said Torres via press release.

“As a sign of good faith before starting his term, he should ensure to us that he will not eliminate President Obama’s executive order on immigration, which affects more than 10 million people.”

Keeping President Obama’s executive order would be a good measure to strengthen our democracy, added Torres, who said to not be worried about deportations as long as they are “fair.”

“As part of President Obama’s immigration reform plan – more than any previous president’s – thousands of people have already been deported who had violated immigration law, and it would not be anything new to continue this under the new president as long as the law is applied in an equitable manner,” he said.

For her part, Liz Lempert, the mayor of Princeton – where the official governor’s mansion and one of the country’s most prestigious universities are located – said that the city will support all residents regardless of their immigration status.

“Last week, we came together with local institutions and nonprofits to commit to maintaining and building a unified Princeton in a divided nation. As mayor and council, we recognize that our community is stronger because of our diversity, not in spite of it, and we commit to supporting all our residents regardless of their race, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability, economic standing or political views,” she said in a statement.

Lempert also said that local immigrants who need to do so to feel free to call the Princeton Human Services Department at (609) 688-2055. Their offices are located at 1 Monument Dr., Princeton, New Jersey.

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