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.

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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."

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Immigrant Rights Advocates Support Legalization of Cannabis and Call for an End to Unjust Criminalization of Communities of Color in New Jersey.

NEW JERSEY--  The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice released the following statement in support of legalization of cannabis:

"Immigrants’ rights and racial justice issues are often perceived as separate. They are not. We are all negatively impacted by the unfair criminal justice system that separates families through incarceration and deportation. In recognition of our shared interests in reforming criminal justice policies that hurt families and communities, the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice stands with our brothers and sisters advocating for the legalization of cannabis in New Jersey.

"Our immigrant communities include people of color, who are disproportionately arrested for cannabis offenses. Statewide, blacks are 3 times more likely than whites to be arrested for cannabis possession. In many cities, they are more than 10 times more likely to be arrested. Latinos are similarly impacted. In 2013, Latinos in Jersey City were 3 times more likely to be arrested than whites; in Millville, they were 6 times more likely to be arrested.

"Convictions for a minor drug offense have significant and lasting effects on immigrants’ lives. These penalties include detention by immigration authorities for months or years, the loss of “green cards,” ineligibility to apply for lawful immigration status, and deportation that causes permanent family separation.

"Too many immigrants’ lives have been derailed by New Jersey’s prohibition laws. As immigrants’ rights advocates, we understand what it is like to fight against the criminalization of our communities by a policy rooted in bias and discrimination. We support the efforts to end prohibition and insist that our communities be permitted to participate in the new economy created while ensuring those who have been criminalized are finally free of unjust burdens resulting from our failed drug policies."

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Advocates Condemn President Trump’s Latest Attempt To Attack Immigrants By Ending Constitutionally Protected Birthright Citizenship

In response to President Trump’s statement on his intentions to sign an executive order to end birthright citizenship, Johanna Calle, director of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice released the following statement:

We condemn this latest xenophobic attempt by President Trump to attack immigrants by stating he will end birthright citizenship with the signing of an executive order. This is clearly another political ploy by the administration in the wake of the upcoming elections. While President Trump’s proposal is unconstitutional, his continued nationalist rhetoric is creating fear for immigrant and American families alike, many who have relatives with mixed status. Our rights are protected under the constitution, regardless of immigration status, and as the federal administration continues to undermine American values, we must continue to fight in New Jersey for state policies that are fair and welcoming to all.”

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Response to Hudson County’s proposed resolution on the ICE jail contract

In response to Hudson County’s proposed resolution on the ICE jail contract, the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice released the following statement:

While the whole country is horrified over the cruel separation and detention of families seeking asylum at the border, Hudson County continues to be a part of this system by financially profiting off the detention and deportation of people.

Unfortunately, while advocates and residents are fighting to end immigration detention and deportations across the country, Hudson County Freeholders continue to play politics with the lives of immigrant detainees and their families. Public statements have been made, yet what is before the freeholder board today is not what they committed to. The proposed resolution on the Intergovernmental Service Agreement maintains the status quo of their relationship with ICE until 2020, at which point they are free to continue that relationship with another resolution.

Hudson County can plan their phase out with the input of advocates to ensure that our families gain freedom and are not negatively impacted by this transition. Specifically, the proposed resolution does not propose an end date, does not impose a cap of the number of detainees, comply with latest detention standards to better the treatment of detainees and inmates, and adding resources to ensure that our families gain freedom.

All the Hudson County Freeholder actions indicate that they are simply hoping this pressure dies down. They are hoping that in two years this won’t be an issue anymore and that they can go back to previous excuses for partaking in this inhumane system. As Hudson County is one of the most diverse counties not just in New Jersey, but in the country, these actions do not reflect the values of their residents’ values. Today’s resolution should be tabled until the freeholders can lay out clear steps to phase out the contract and meaningfully engage with impacted community members and the advocates who support them.

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Hudson County Renews IGSA Detention Contract With ICE

                       

Immigrants’ Rights Advocates Respond to Hudson County Renewing IGSA Detention Contract With ICE

Yesterday, Hudson County freeholders voted to renew its IGSA contract with ICE to detain immigrants in the Hudson County Jail. In response, immigrants’ rights advocates released the following statements:

“It is disheartening that majority of Hudson County Freeholders voted to continue the lucrative immigration detention contract with the federal immigration agency that often tears immigrant families apart. At the time local governments should push back egregious and harmful immigration enforcement activities, Hudson county chose profit over what's right. Hudson and New Jersey residents deserve much better than that,” said Chia-Chia Wang, organizing and advocacy director, American Friends Service Committee Immigrant Rights Program.

“It was disappointing that the Freeholder’s rushed and voted to continue the IGSA agreement, without further review of what is written in the contract and without acknowledging Freeholder Torres’s request to table the item for further research and discussion. Clearly profits before humans was the driving point, given there are 800 ICE detainees to 400 inmates incarcerated in the facility,” said Sally Pillay, program director, First Friends of New Jersey and New York.

“We condemn this vote to renew the ICE contract with Hudson County Jail. With this vote, the county is making a deal to profit off of family separation of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants over the next decade,” said Johanna Calle, director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. “Immigrants held at this jail experience some of the worst conditions in any detention facility in the country. In a moment when it has become increasingly clear that ICE’s cruel and racist tactics lead to family separation, immigrant communities and advocates demand all New Jersey counties and localities end all relationships with this rogue agency. Hudson County is the profiteering off of attacks on our communities while they fail to meet high standards for care of all detainees. We are committed to continue fighting end all detention and deportations in New Jersey and across the United States.”

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Thousands March in Newark to Demand Family Reunification and Ending All New Jersey State and Local Resource Use for Federal Immigration Enforcement

 

Elected officials, advocates joined marchers to call for an end to family separation and detention

 

NEWARK, NJ-- From City Hall to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Newark Field Office, thousands of people marched in Newark to call for an end to family separation at the border and in New Jersey. The march was lead by immigrant youth and children separated from their family members. Marchers demanded New Jersey state leadership stand up to Trump’s systematic criminalization and cruel dehumanization of migrants and immigrants by immediately ending all local and state resources from being used on ICE and CBP’s cruel treatment of immigrant families. Most of the 2,500 children separated at the border have yet to be reunited with their families. In New Jersey, thousands of families have been separated by ICE with arrests 42% higher than previous years.  

Immigrant youth who have faced detention spoke about the traumatic experience of family separation and called on New Jersey policymakers to protect immigrants in the state. Speakers also called on state leaders to guarantee effective, pro bono legal counsel to all people in immigration proceedings and ensure that all immigrants can live, drive and study safely in New Jersey.

“I was only 5 when I was held in immigrant detention, away from my mom. I lived in fear for a long time after that. Wind of the Spirit has taught me that fear and hate cannot win if we work together. That is why I march, because we need everyone, especially our state and local representatives, to act. We need NJ to protect all of us from terroristic ICE practices. We must abolish ICE and decriminalize asylum, to make our country safe for all,” said Alondra, Youth Advocate, Wind of the Spirit (Last name withheld).

"As a Dreamer who crossed the border as a small child seeking refuge in the United States with my family, the Trump administration's cruelty shakes me to my core. Immigrant youth are under attack by a government that rules with an agenda of white supremacy and hate, and ICE officers who seek to detain and deport us all - whether its at the border or here in New Jersey. Today we stand in unity and resistance because our families belong together. It's time to abolish ICE and stand up for our families," said Erika Martinez, Make the Road New Jersey.

“As a mother, there is nothing more cruel and inhumane than seeing children ripped apart from their families,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “The President has made it his mission to tear families apart, but we won’t stand for this. Phil and I will continue to fight tooth and nail to protect immigrant rights and defend the values that our country was founded upon.”

“Family separation is not just happening at the border. New Jersey has more counties that carry out immigration enforcement on behalf of ICE than some border states like Arizona. Our tax dollars used to separate thousands of New Jersey families. Moms and dads are stalked and detained by ICE on their way to work or while dropping their kids off to school. A simple traffic violation puts someone is danger of being separated by ICE,” said Johanna Calle, director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. “New Jersey state leadership must act now expand access to driver’s licenses and to stop all state and local resources from going towards these harmful immigration enforcement tactics and make New Jersey a Fair and Welcoming state for all immigrants.”

“I’m proud to stand with New Jerseyans across our state to condemn the Trump Administration’s heartless zero tolerance policy. I applaud the decision of a federal court ordering the Administration to reunite the separated children, and I hope the Administration promptly complies. But we must be vigilant and make sure the more than 2,000 children who were torn away from their families at our southern border reunite with their parents. We will not let this President bully us into believing that we should fear immigrant children and families who seek safety and asylum in the United States. Here in New Jersey we believe that the United States must always be a beacon of hope to those fleeing violence and injustice in the darkest corners of the world, and we are proud to stand together to say once and for all that families belong together,” said U.S. Senator Robert Menendez

“It’s hard to find words to describe the policy of separating children from their mothers and fathers as they seek safety from violence and persecution. Words like cruel, inhumane and heartless have been used, but they fall short. Public outcry led the President to stop ICE from ripping terrified kids away from the only sense of safety that they have, but we cannot afford to  quiet down for his bait and switch. Instead of caging kids and families separately, he wants to hold them indefinitely — and he’s been silent about reuniting the hundreds of children who were separated from their parents over the past several weeks. We have to be the voices of these people who have come here, to a nation of immigrants, for asylum and for opportunity. I’m proud to continue to fight on their behalves, and equally proud to see so many others do the same. We cannot allow Republicans in Congress and the White House to commit these atrocities,” said Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman.

"In a span of a few months, we've seen the cruelty with which immigrant and migrant families are treated at the border and in New Jersey. The treatment of people fleeing their countries and seeking asylum in the U.S. is not only unjust but very often inhumane. It is time to shine a light on the destructive power the current administration has over human lives. We march in solidarity with all immigrants," said Erin Chung, President of Women for Progress.

"The criminalization of immigration is a stain on the fabric of this nation. To treat people like this, tearing them apart from their families without a trace of compassion, shows the true character, ignorance, and heartlessness of officials in Washington, from the White House down to the Congressional Republicans that support it with their compliance or silence. And this is not only about what's happening at our borders; it's about the mass deportations carried out by ICE, at a rate higher than the national average, that are separating families right here in New Jersey. We demand that our state legislators act now to protect all NJ families,” said Elizabeth Meyer, Founder, Women's March on NJ.

“It is not enough for the Trump Administration to use xenophobic and racist policies to attack our immigrant and migrant brothers and sisters. Their zero tolerance policy rips away the humanity of these families and shows the heartless of this administration. It is time for our federal and state legislators to stand on the side of families and stand up to denounce the caging of these kids and families,” said Analilia Executive Director of New Jersey Working Families.



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In partnership with:

Communications Workers of America - NJ Chapter

Planned Parenthood Action Fund of NJ

Make the Road NJ

BlueWaveNJ

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice

New Jersey Working Families

NJ 11th for Change

Wind of the Spirit

Women for Progress

1199 SEIU

ACLU-NJ

American Friends Service Committee Immigrant Rights Program

Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War

Health Professionals and Allied Employees

Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

Ironbound Community Corporation

National Association of Social Workers - NJ Chapter

New Jersey Citizen Action

New Labor

NJ08 for Progress

SPAN

Unitarian Universalist FaithAction NJ

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In partnership with:

Communications Workers of America - NJ Chapter

Planned Parenthood Action Fund of NJ

Make the Road NJ

BlueWaveNJ

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice

New Jersey Working Families

NJ 11th for Change

Wind of the Spirit

Women for Progress

1199 SEIU

ACLU-NJ

American Friends Service Committee Immigrant Rights Program

Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War

Health Professionals and Allied Employees

Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

Ironbound Community Corporation

National Association of Social Workers - NJ Chapter

New Jersey Citizen Action

New Labor

NJ08 for Progress

SPAN

Unitarian Universalist FaithAction NJ

 

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Immigrant Advocates Condemn Supreme Court Decision to Uphold Muslim Ban

Today, the Supreme Court released its 5-4 decision to uphold the third version of the Trump administration’s Muslim Ban denying visas and protection for travelers and refugees from six Muslim-majority countries. In response, the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice released the following statement,

“By upholding the Muslim ban, the United States Supreme Court has sided with a racist and xenophobic attack on Muslims and immigrants. Banning travelers and refugees from Muslim majority countries has been a part of the Trump Administration's policies against immigrant communities from the beginning. The continuation of this ban will harm Americans and immigrants with family members in those countries who will not be able to see their loved ones. This goes against American values of reuniting families and welcoming immigrants. We will continue to stand up and fight back against attacks on immigrants to ensure that families are never separated,” said Johanna Calle, director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice.

 

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Immigrants’ Rights Advocates Applaud Governor Murphy’s Executive Order to Prevent Use of State Resources for the Separation of Immigrant Families

 

New Jersey--  In response to Governor Murphy issuing an executive order prohibiting state agencies to separate children on the basis of immigration, Johanna Calle, director of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice released the following statement,

 

“Immigrants’ rights groups across New Jersey commend Governor Murphy and his administration on taking this step to make it clear that our state is not in the business of separating families. We look forward to working with the Murphy Administration to address the horrifying realities that immigrant families and children face when they come in contact with ICE and CBP in New Jersey. As long as ICE is able to operate in the state, families and children are at risk of detention and deportation. We ask those who support immigrant families to join us on June 30th in Newark to demand that ICE and CBP stop terrorizing immigrant families in New Jersey and across the nation.”

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New Jersey Immigrants’ Rights Advocates Respond to President Trump’s Executive Order which Replaces Family Separation with Family Detention

 

New Jersey--  In response to President Trump issuing an executive order to address the crisis his administration’s anti-immigrant policies have created, Johanna Calle, director of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, released the following statement,

 

“This executive order does little to fix the immigration crisis Trump’s administration has created and jails children with parents, continuing the practice of detaining families who are seeking refuge. Family detention centers are not the answer. Putting families behind bars and giving them no real chance to appeal their case for asylum goes against the American tradition of welcoming migrants and refugees.

 

In recent months we’ve heard not only the cries of families from the border but those of families in our own state where parents have been arrested by ICE and separated from their children. New Jersey’s ICE’s operations have called our families criminals and have detained thousands in our own backyard. Immigrant advocates across the state call on New Jersey to ensure that no local and state resources are going towards supporting ICE’s federal immigration enforcement tactics.”

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