Latest Public Charge Rule Change is Racist

Latest Public Charge Rule Is A Racist, Anti-Immigrant Change to America’s Immigration Laws

Monday, August 12th, 2019-- This morning, the Trump administration posted the new public charge rule that is set to be published on the Federal Registrar on Wednesday, August 14th and to go into effect in 60 days on October 15th. The impacts of this rule change will affect all immigrants, specifically targeting permanent residents, and those applying for visas for entry to the U.S. The following is a statement from Johanna Calle, director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. 

“Further expanding public charge is another racist and anti-immigrant attack by the Trump administration on hard-working immigrants and their families. The Trump administration is sending the message yet again that immigrants are not welcome unless they are wealthy. 

“Most immigrants are already not eligible from accessing most public benefits and further expanding the ineligibility is just another cruel attack on immigrant families that will keep even eligible children from accessing needed services. This rule change further stokes fear in our communities and fans the flames of anti-immigrant myths that accuse immigrants of taking earned benefits they don’t deserve.

“Health care providers, service providers, and community leaders have spoken out against the chilling effects of the rule on the use of services, not just by immigrants but also their U.S. born children out of fear of exclusion from potential citizenship. The new rule impacts every aspect of immigrant life from English language proficiency to access to medical services. It creates a wealth burden on new immigrants that harkens back to the racist 19th-century immigration laws that excluded certain immigrants from entry based on race and nationality. The Trump administration is taking our policies backward into an explicitly racist era of American history. 

“Over the last ten months, since the public charge rule has been under consideration, reports indicate immigrants are already hindered from accessing and applying for necessary services. In New Jersey, immigrant communities and public agencies alike need education about how this impacts families in our communities. We call on New Jersey’s leadership to work to make sure every agency and service provider in the state knows how to address the changes in the public charge rule without discrimination based on immigration status.”


Honoring 32BJ President Héctor Figueroa

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice Statement Remembering and Honoring 32BJ President Héctor Figueroa

In honor of today’s remembrance and memorial for 32BJ President Héctor Figueroa, Johanna Calle, Director of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice shared the following statement,

“It is with a heavy heart that we offer our condolences to the friends and family of President Héctor Figueroa and to the 32BJ family for this great loss. Héctor’s leadership and commitment to justice cannot be forgotten and will live on in the advocacy of the countless people he inspired to stand up and fight for justice alongside him.” 


Secret Renewal of 287 (g) ICE Contracts

Immigrant Rights Advocates Denounce Monmouth, Cape May Counties' Secret Renewal of 287(g) ICE Contracts

287(g) ICE contracts deputize local law enforcement to do ICE’s bidding, drain limited local resources, and create barriers to building trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement officials.

New Jersey — (July 12th, 2019) In response to the uncovering of Monmouth and Cape May counties secretly renewing 287(g) contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), New Jersey immigrant rights and civil rights advocates released the following statements.

Chia-Chia Wang, Director of Advocacy and Organizing at American Friends Service Committee – Immigrants Rights Project said,

“287(g) is a highly flawed program that does not only hurt the trust relationship between immigrant communities and local law enforcement agencies, but leads to many deportations and family separation. Renewing 287(g) signals Cape May and Monmouth County officials’ continued desire to identify, detain and deport immigrants. We must hold them accountable and call for permanent end to 287(g) in New Jersey immediately.”

Kevin Escobar, Community Leader at Wind of the Spirit said,

“Our law enforcement officials are responsible for protecting and serving all of our communities, and the Attorney General’s directive ensures that our resources are used in a matter that accomplishes this. Our law enforcement is not required by law to do a federal agency’s job, and in fact their missions can often run counter to each other. The renewal of this type of non-mandatory, immigration contract not only erodes communication between immigrant communities and law enforcement, but also breaks up families. This leads to irreparable traumas and long term negative consequences for individuals and communities.”

Farrin Anello, Senior Staff Attorney with ACLU-NJ said,

“Renewing 287(g) agreements in secret, behind closed doors, not only denies the public its voice, but disregards the spirit of transparency outlined by the Attorney General’s Immigrant Trust Directive. We commend Attorney General Grewal for building trust between local law enforcement and immigrant communities. When counties use local resources to carry out the responsibilities of federal immigration agencies, everyone loses: the public becomes less safe, and the county becomes liable for unconstitutional detentions and other violations of civil rights. We will continue fighting to protect the civil rights of all New Jerseyans and to ensure that decisions as consequential as county contracts with ICE be considered openly, honestly, and with community input.”

Johanna Calle, Director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice said,

“The purpose of the Immigrant Trust Directive is to create trust between Law Enforcement and Immigrant communities. Many who fear reporting crimes or being witnesses in investigations. The renewal of these agreements, done seemingly in hiding from the public, only diminish the trust in law enforcement and the process by which they decided to enter into agreements that use local resources for the Trump administrations family separation efforts.”


New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice Denounces George Norcross' Anti-Immigrant Statements and Calls on New Jersey Leaders to Stand with Immigrants

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice Denounces George Norcross' Anti-Immigrant Statements and Calls on New Jersey Leaders to Stand With Immigrants

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice Denounces George Norcross’ Anti-Immigrant Statements and Calls on New Jersey Leaders to Stand With Immigrants

NEW JERSEY–(July 11th, 2019) In response to the recent Intercept article highlighting George Norcross’ anti-immigrant comments, Johanna Calle, director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice released the following statement,

“It is disconcerting to see such an influential figure espouse Trump’s political dogma and give air to anti-immigrant stereotypes calling undocumented immigrants “criminals” as a way to justify political calculus that ignores the dignity and humanity of immigrants. Dog whistle rhetoric cannot be a political tool to mobilize voters regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum. Unfortunately, that is exactly what President Trump continues to do and the political ideology Mr. Norcross is justifying.

“Mr. Norcross’, an influential political leader in New Jersey, use of language criminalizing immigrants feeds into Trump’s racist rhetoric and fear-mongering which has led to family separation and children in cages. Research has consistently shown that immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans. Undocumented immigrants are as much a part of New Jersey’s communities as any other immigrant. They are part of our families, our neighbors, and our classmates, contributing to our communities and take care of their families, just like any other New Jerseyan.  To say certain immigrants have to be treated as criminals is depriving hundreds of thousands of people in New Jersey the basic humanity and dignity that everyone deserves.

“New Jersey voters have gone to the polls to stand up against Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, any political calculus that doesn’t understand that is out of touch with the voters of our state. It is outrageous that our elected leaders who claim to be for immigrant families are affiliated with someone who believes these misconceptions about our families. Our communities are already fearful of what Trump is doing to further create chaos and panic for families and children. At this critical moment, we need every New Jersey leader to reject this hateful speech and show their support of immigrant families, not with talking points and lip service, but by passing inclusive policies that welcome all immigrants.”


NJ Alliance for Immigrant Justice Statement on ICE Raids

NJ Alliance for immigrant Justice Statement on ICE Raids

In response to the ICE raids targeting immigrants, NJAIJ releases the following statement.

Johanna Calle, director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice said,

“Trump is continuing to create chaos and panic for immigrant communities. Beginning Sunday, ICE is targeting families and teenagers to send to detention facilities that are already overcrowded. This is a continuation of this administration creating a crisis based on political calculus and wreaking havoc across the nation over the past few years.

“As the horrific reality of the Trump Administration’s policies at the border and in ICE detention facilities continues to come to light, we call New Jersey leaders to stand with our communities by rejecting anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. We cannot call ourselves a state of immigrants while some localities continue to profit off the detention of our families. New Jersey must affirmatively stand on the right side of history by implementing policies that allow immigrants regardless of status to live with dignity and protect their families such as providing legal representation and through the expansion of access to driver’s licenses to all.”


Governor Murphy Announces New Measures to Advance Immigrant and Refugee Integration

On Independence Day, Governor Murphy Announces New Measures to Advance Immigrant and Refugee Integration

In response to Governor Murphy’s announcement of two new initiatives to welcome immigrants and refugees, Johanna Calle, director of NJ Alliance of Immigrant Justice released the following statement,

“With these types of initiatives which welcome refugees and immigrants, the governor is showing the power of states to stand up to Trump’s racist anti-immigrant policies. As Trump renews his efforts to cause fear and panic for immigrant families and children, New Jersey policymakers can lead by implementing inclusive policies that protect immigrant families from Trump raids and ICE deportation. We look forward to supporting these efforts to ensure that the voices and experiences of immigrant and refugee communities are at the forefront of the implementation of these programs.”


Historic Vote on HR-6, Dream And Promise Act of 2019

 Advocates Call On State Legislators To Act On Wide-Ranging| Support For Immigrant Rights In New Jersey

New Jersey-- On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass HR-6 the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 which would allow Dreamers, DACA-recipients TPS holders, and those with DED a pathway towards permanent residency citizenship. In response, Johanna Calle, director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice offered the following statement:

"Today we celebrate this historic vote that gives hope to thousands of families in New Jersey who need protection from deportation and family separation. We thank and applaud every member of New Jersey's congressional house delegation for voting in favor of this bill that would keep families together and give hope to millions across the country."

"It is telling that every member of the New Jersey's congressional delegation voted in favor of HR-6, exemplifying the views of New Jerseyans and their support for keeping families together regardless of immigration status. While Congress continues to look for permanent solutions that will protect hundreds of thousands of people, we urge our state's leadership to do the right thing and support immigrant families here in our state. Legislators in Trenton can take note of the wide-ranging and bipartisan support of immigration reform policies and pass legislation to expand access to driver's licenses without further delay. Thousands of children and families in New Jersey are waiting on it."


Trump Administration’s Latest Attempt To Attack Immigrant Families By Gutting America’s Immigration and Asylum System

Immigrant Rights Advocates Condemn Trump Administration’s Latest Attempt To Attack Immigrant Families By Gutting America’s Immigration and Asylum System

In response to President Trump's announcement of the administration's latest plan to upend America's immigration system, Johanna Calle, director of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice released the following statement:

"This plan is a continuation of Stephen Miller's scheme to impose his white supremacist ideology on the American people with anti-immigrant and racist attacks by punishing immigrants and asylum seekers. While its claims to be fair, the administration is in fact proposing to severely decrease family-based immigration and asylum based migration which will keep families apart.

"Families will be separated longer, and asylum seekers will have less of a chance of gaining safety and security in the U.S, going against our humanitarian values. Additionally, this plan has no realistic solution for the many undocumented residents who are still waiting for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We call on Congress to strongly oppose any Trump/Miller plan by defunding ICE and CPB, the two agencies responsible for carrying out attacks on immigrant communities and by passing permanent protections for immigrant communities including DACA, TPS, and DED by supporting the Dream and Promise Act."


New Study Shows New Jersey Immigrants Lead With The Highest Workforce Impact In The Nation, Contributing To State’s Economy, Generating Jobs

New Jersey is a leading state in benefiting from the economic impact of immigrants, including undocumented immigrants and can increase that impact by expanding access to drivers licenses to all.

NEW JERSEY--  New Jersey is one of the top three states in the nation benefiting from the positive economic impact of immigrants as concluded in the findings of a new study, “Economic Impact of Immigration by State” conducted by WalletHub. Following California and New York, New Jersey places in the top three in the ranking among 50 states and D.C. New Jersey has the highest workforce impact from immigrants than any other state which includes factors of jobs generated by immigrant-owned businesses and the total share of immigrants in the workforce.

Immigrants of all background are an immense value to the Garden State, which has the third highest percentage of foreign-born residents in the nation. Experts continue to find evidence of how immigrants make long-lasting contributions to our society and economy.

This study is another drop in the ocean of evidence showing how welcoming immigrants into our nation benefits everyone. New Jersey can increase this positive impact by creating policies that allow all residents regardless of immigration status to fully contribute to our society, including by expanding access to drivers licenses to more residents, regardless of immigration status.

“Overwhelming, the research has always shown immigrants making a positive impact to our state’s economy. New Jersey has a vested interest in welcoming immigrants to stay in the state, including undocumented immigrants who alone contribute upwards of $500 million in taxes every year,” said Erika Nava, Policy Analyst with New Jersey Policy Perspective. “Our state leaders can continue to make strides in allowing immigrants to make a positive impact by expanding access to drivers licenses to all residents who can prove their identity, residency, and pass the driving test.


Immigrant Rights Advocates Applaud New “Immigrant Trust" Directive” issued by Attorney General Grewal

New directive will help prevent family separations and build trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement

NEW JERSEY -November 29th- Today, New Jersey Attorney General Gubir Grewal took important action to build immigrant communities’ trust with local and state law enforcement with the issuance of an “Immigrant Trust” Directive 2018-6 to replace AG Directive 2007-03. Immigrant Trust Directive 2018-6 is a great first step towards limiting law enforcement from engaging in the enforcement of civil immigration laws by limiting their voluntary interactions with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Under the Trump administration, the federal immigration enforcement agency has aggressively increased the arrests and detentions of immigrants of all statuses, creating a chilling effect in the community and leading to further distrust of all law enforcement and government agencies. New Jersey has seen a 42% increase in ICE arrests in 2017 as compared to previous years. While President Trump and ICE continue to promote racist rhetoric and anti-immigrant policies, this directive will make New Jersey a more fair and welcoming place for immigrants.

The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice and its member organizations applaud the comprehensive directive, which creates guidelines for law enforcement on how to interact with immigrant communities and limits their involvement in civil immigration enforcement. This directive will help police officers use their resources  to address and prevent crime in the communities under their jurisdictions. Most importantly, it will help prevent family separations based on immigration status.

The new directive limits the honoring of ICE administrative detainer requests with some exceptions based on a person’s criminal charge, past criminal conviction, or prior removal order. It also guides local law enforcement on how to handle other voluntary requests from ICE, which often leads to the separation of families across the state. The directive clarifies the role of local law enforcement in supporting survivors of crimes who may be seeking to adjust their immigration status.  

Additionally, the directive prohibits law enforcement from entering, renewing, modifying, or extending 287(g) contracts, which allow ICE to train and deputize police and county jail officers to check for immigration status, unless the Attorney General grants approval. Currently there are three counties in New Jersey with 287(g) contracts with ICE, specifically Monmouth, Cape May, and Salem.

As one of the most diverse states in the nation, this is an crucial first step towards making New Jersey the fair and welcoming state for all immigrants that we aspire to become. With this directive, Attorney General Grewal has given our local law enforcement the clear direction they need to uphold the U.S. Constitution and protect New Jerseyans successfully,” said Johanna Calle, Director, New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. “We look forward to continuing to work with New Jersey leadership to ensure that federal civil immigration enforcement no longer negatively impacts immigrant communities in this great state.”

“Now more than ever, it’s up to the states to defend the rights guaranteed by our Constitution, and this directive demonstrates exactly what it looks like in action,” said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha. “Within our nation’s identity as a home for immigrants, New Jersey is its beating heart. More than the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island, this directive stands as the manifestation of our most important values: justice, fairness, and freedom.”

“AFSC applauds this long awaited change of policy from NJ's chief law enforcement officer. NJ is home to many immigrants, which means they should feel safe and trusting at all times. This new directive is a big step towards that. The Attorney General showed unparalleled commitment and leadership in working with immigrant community. We are proud to be working with his office," said Chia-Chia Wang, Organizing and Advocacy Director of American Friends Service Committee Immigrant Rights Program. "While this directive protects hundreds of thousands of people, there is still room for improvement. We look forward to continuing to work with the Attorney General, law enforcement, and state and local leadership to see that all immigrants in New Jersey are not subject to detention and deportation through interactions with local law enforcement."

"For years now, my family and I have lived with the fear that a simple traffic stop or any interaction with the local police could lead to deportation. As ICE arrests mothers and fathers across New Jersey in the middle of the night, when they are dropping their kids off at school or seeking justice in the courts, it is such a relief to know that our local New Jersey law enforcement agents will no longer do the work of immigration enforcement. We thank Attorney General Gurbir Grewal for his leadership in making New Jersey a more fair and welcoming state for all," said Olga Armas, Make the Road New Jersey member.   

"The new Attorney General directive promotes public safety and as it creates an environment where New Jersey’s immigrant communities are less afraid to cooperate with law enforcement. It also sends a clear message that New Jersey is taking significant steps to make our state fairer and more welcoming to our immigrant neighbors,” said Erika J. Nava, Policy Analyst, New Jersey Policy Perspective. “Research shows that states with fair and welcoming policies have lower crime rates, stronger economies with higher median household incomes, lower unemployment rates, and less poverty."

Our communities are more successful when everyone has the opportunity to participate fully, and Attorney General Grewal's directive is a critical step in ensuring that New Jersey is safe and welcoming for all of its residents. In New Jersey - and in states and localities across the country - our policies should strive to encourage all residents to safely interact with local law enforcement,” said Shiu-Ming Cheer, Senior Staff Attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. “We look forward to continuing to work with the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, AG Grewal, and others to build upon this progress to  ensure that immigrant families are able to live and work in their communities without fear.”

"This directive represents what people of good conscience hope for-- that legal practice can be aligned to what is right,” said Reverend Robin Tanner, Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Summit. Today the arc of the moral universe is bending a bit more towards justice."

"All state residents regardless of their documentation should be able to travel from town to town or county to county and trust that they will be treated equally under the law and this directive takes us closer to that day.  Trust is key in the relationship between police and communities. The Jewish tradition is crystal clear in its commitment to the rights of the stranger,” said Rabbi Elliot Tepperman, Bnai Keshet. “We are commanded to protect the stranger more times than any other commandment in the Torah. Bnai Keshet remembers our own history as immigrants and refugees seeking safety and we stand in solidarity with immigrants in this country."