Executive Order Provides Detailed Policy Preventing City Resources from being Used on Federal Immigration Enforcement
JERSEY CITY – Joined today by a coalition of immigration advocates, Mayor Fulop today signed an executive order re-affirming and strengthening Jersey City’s Sanctuary City status and outlining a detailed policy on the matter for the Police Department and other city departments and agencies who work with the immigrant community.
As one of the most diverse cities in the nation, with 40 percent of the population foreign born and 75 languages spoken in the public schools, the executive order establishes a firm policy preventing city resources from being used on the enforcement of federal immigration law and will serve as a model for other cities in New Jersey and the nation.
“Jersey City has a long tradition of welcoming new immigrants to our country as the Golden Door to America and that is not going to change, despite the recent actions being taken by the President,” said Mayor Fulop. “This executive order reaffirms our Sanctuary City status and establishes a strong policy as we stand proudly and firmly with our immigrant community today and everyday.”
While Jersey City has been a Sanctuary City since 1996 via Council resolution, there was no definitive policy in place guiding city departments and agencies, including local police, on the issue. Following the recent actions by the Executive Branch of the federal government, Jersey City began meeting with local and statewide immigration advocates to develop a strong policy to ensure protection of Jersey City’s immigrant community.
While establishing a definitive Sanctuary City policy for Jersey City, the 10-page executive order also ensures the ongoing public safety for immigrants and all residents of Jersey City, noting that when local enforcement unduly collaborates with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), immigrants are less likely to report crimes, act as witnesses in criminal investigations and prosecutions, and provide intelligence to law enforcement, which is especially harmful where the victim of a crime is an immigrant.
“Trump’s executive orders unfairly target Muslims, and are an affront to Jersey City and our incredibly diverse community. Jersey City’s immigrants are family who we welcome and will protect,” said Council President Rolando Lavarro, Jr. “I’m very proud that the Mayor has issued an executive order, affirming our commitment to a diverse and inclusive society, and hopefully reassuring our family that Jersey City is on their side.”
The policy was drafted in partnership with a coalition of immigration advocates including the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, the ACLU of New Jersey, American Friends Service Committee and Make the Road New Jersey.
“We are extremely proud to work with Mayor Fulop to protect New Jersey’s immigrants, and we commend him for taking this important step,” said Dianna Houenou, Policy Council, American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey. “This Executive Order ensures that immigrants can pursue their livelihoods in a welcoming place free from discrimination.”
“As a fair and welcoming city, Jersey City can continue to be a diverse, vibrant, and safe place for all New Jerseyans – regardless of citizenship or immigration status – to call home,” said Johanna Calle, Program Coordinator, New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. “We commend Mayor Fulop for his leadership in standing against the targeting of our communities. We will continue to fight to make sure that our state becomes a welcoming state for all of our residents.”
“Recognizing strength through diversity, Jersey City upholds American values of compassion and empathy by its continued commitment to our robust immigrant community,” said Hamel Vyas, a South Asian immigrant attorney and newly appointed member of the Jersey City Immigrant Affairs Commission.
“The importance of creating safe spaces and sanctuaries for our immigrants is a value that over 400 jurisdictions (including four states) have embraced over the course of several years,” said Juan Cartagena President & General Counsel, Latino Justice PRLDEF. “It is reassuring that at this point in our history when some of those jurisdictions are second-guessing these compassionate and inclusive policies in light of the new President’s Executive Order that Jersey City, in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty and its symbolism for all refugees and immigrants, is moving towards sanctuary. We applaud Mayor Fulop’s efforts and we stand with the good people of Jersey City who value inclusion, justice and dignity.”