NJ Immigrant Advocates Call For the Suspension of All Immigration Enforcement and Release Of Incarcerated, Detained People At Risk of COVID-19 Outbreak

In addition to calling for immediate action during the Coronavirus pandemic, the NJ Alliance For Immigrant Justice also released its platform for ending immigration detention across the state.

 

Newark, NJ- Thursday, March 19th, 2020-  Today, Bergen County Correctional Facility confirmed a positive case of novel coronavirus or “COVID-19”, following the confirmation of a staff member at the private detention center in Elizabeth showing COVID-19 symptoms and self-isolating, earlier this week. As the “COVID-19” public health emergency grips the nation, there is an alarming concern for people in jails and detention centers. The threat of a COVID-19 outbreak in small confined areas, especially carceral facilities, has been seen around the world. People in these facilities are housed in close quarters with poor conditions where they have no way of practicing social distancing, including the detention facilities in Bergen, Hudson and Essex counties, and private detention center in Elizabeth. These limitations and the history of disregard of individual health and well-being in jails and ICE detention facilities necessitate releasing people so that they can stay safe from the risk of infection and decrease the risk of an outbreak in these facilities.  

 

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ), a state-wide coalition of over 40 organizations, firmly believes people belong in their communities and with their families where they can keep safe and healthy. People should not be kept in cages where they are dehumanized and put at risk of abuse and neglect. NJAIJ calls for the release of all people from these facilities, currently left out of crucial social distancing measures taken to address the serious public health risk of the COVID-19 virus. Thousands in New Jersey are incarcerated and detained in facilities that have a documented history of poor conditions putting them at an exacerbated risk of exposure. Immigrant advocates demand state, county, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to work to release all incarcerated and detained people. Upon release, all former detainees and incarcerated persons should be granted immediate access to food, shelter, and medical care without being considered a public charge for the duration of the crisis. Further, advocates urge immigration officials to suspend all enforcement activities immediately, including ICE check-ins, deportations, and transfers of detainees.

 

“We are very concerned about the health and safety of people in New Jersey’s jails and detention facilities and in our communities. There have been egregious violations at these facilities, including lack of basic access to health care, concern for people’s well-being, and even lack of access to basic sanitary supplies. These facilities do not allow individuals to practice self-isolation. We ask state, county, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to work to release all people held in New Jersey jails and detention facilities. Officials must also investigate any potential COVID-19 exposure, and require facilities to develop a clear plan to respond in case there is a confirmed positive case,” said Johanna Calle, director of New Jersey Alliance For Immigrant Justice. 

 

Along with the call for the immediate release of incarcerated and detained individuals from jails and detention facilities, the NJAIJ released its platform on ending immigration detention in New Jersey to guide the fight against the separation of families through incarceration and immigration detention and deportation. The full platform can be accessed here.

 

Share

DOJ Joining Lawsuit Over New Jersey’s Immigrant Trust Directive

 

New Jersey Alliance For Immigrant Justice Responds to DOJ Joining Lawsuit Over New Jersey’s Immigrant Trust Directive 



NEW JERSEY -- January 27th, 2020-- In response to news of the Department of Justice (DOJ) joining a lawsuit against the New Jersey Attorney General over the Immigrant Trust Directive, Johanna Calle, director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice released the following statement,

 

“As the federal attacks on immigrants and immigrant families escalate, state and localities are drawing a clear distinction between federal immigration enforcement and local law enforcement like New Jersey has done with the Immigrant Trust directive. The Directive is helping local law enforcement work with immigrant communities. It allows police officers to focus on solving crimes in their jurisdiction rather than on an individual’s immigration status. Across the nation, data shows localities with similar trust policies have lower rates of crime.

 

“The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice and its member organizations continue to stand in support of New Jersey’s Immigrant Trust Directive. The Directive is especially important for victims and witnesses of crimes, who may be afraid to come forward due to fear of immigration consequences. This directive builds trust with immigrant communities by sending a strong message: regardless of your immigration status, you can seek help from your local law enforcement agency in New Jersey.”

 

 

Share

Immigrant Rights Advocates Applaud Attorney General Grewal’s Termination of all 287(g) Agreements in New Jersey and Denounce the Addition of Harmful Carve-Outs To the Immigrant Trust Directive

Immigrant Rights Advocates Applaud Attorney General Grewal’s Termination of all 287(g) Agreements in New Jersey  and Denounce the Addition of Harmful Carve-Outs To the Immigrant Trust Directive

With the end of all 287(g) ICE deputization contracts, New Jersey continues to build trust with immigrant communities and improve public safety for all residents. However, the addition of policy carve-outs to the Immigrant Trust Directive goes against the intent of the directive.

 

NEW JERSEY -- September 27th, 2019 -- Today, New Jersey Attorney General Grewal directed all state, county and local law enforcement agencies to end all 287(g) agreements with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within seven days. 287(g) agreements deputize local law enforcement to perform civil immigration enforcement using local and state resources for federal purposes. The elimination of 287(g) agreements with ICE will increase public safety across the state by building trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement officers. Additionally, local and state law enforcement resources can be used to address local public safety rather than federal civil immigration enforcement. 

 

The announcement of the termination of all 287(g) ICE agreements statewide also came with changes to the Immigrant Trust directive including the addition of gun offenses and simple assault domestic violence to the list of serious crimes in which local law enforcement may alert immigration officials of an individual's immigration status. Advocates are continuing to urge the Attorney General to eliminate any exceptions that allow for local law enforcement to participate in immigration enforcement which only help ICE fill up detention centers and separate families in New Jersey. Regardless of immigration status, an individual should be allowed due process to prove their innocence or to serve their time. 

 

The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice and its members applaud the termination of all 287(g) agreements but urge the Attorney General to allow immigrants to have access to their constitutional right to due process.

 

Immigrant rights advocates released the following statements.

 

 Erika Nava, Policy Analyst at New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) said

"New Jersey's immigrants make major contributions to the state's communities and economy every single day. Now, more than two years into the Trump administration, immigrant families are at increased risk of being separated, detained, and deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), sometimes with the help of local law enforcement. Across the nation, the data shows communities are safer with policies that limit ICE enforcement, with crime lower in areas with fair and welcoming policies, with 35.5 fewer crimes per 10,000 people.”  

 

Nicole Miller, Legal Services Director, American Friends Service Committee -Immigrant Rights Project said,

“While we applaud the Attorney General’s decision to end 287g agreements in New Jersey, it is troubling that he has at the same time diluted the Immigrant Trust Directive and with that has eroded protections for immigrants.  It is the separation of families that undermines public safety. The detention centers in New Jersey and across the country are filled with people who have been torn from their families and communities by ICE.” 

 

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

“With the elimination of all  287(g) agreements, New Jersey stands as a leader in the nation for fair and welcoming policies that help keep families together and build trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement. Regardless of a person’s status or criminal charge, deportation, detention, and family separation do not bring justice.” 

 

Humberto Cantero, member of Make the Road Jersey who was detained for a year and separated from U.S. citizen children through a 287g program in Monmouth County said, 

“No one should be afraid that a simple traffic stop, like the one I experienced, will lead to detention and deportation. When police and corrections officers are deputized to do the work of ICE it undermines the trust that we in the community have for our local law enforcement officers. I was detained for a year after being stopped for a simple driving infraction in Monmouth.  By ending 287g programs in New Jersey, the Attorney General is making us all safer. On behalf of myself, my family, and members of Make the Road New Jersey, I thank the Attorney General for taking a stand and protecting New Jersey families like mine.” 

 

ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha said,

“Today in New Jersey, the line between local law enforcement and federal immigration priorities got even brighter. It isn’t an exaggeration to call our state’s abolition of 287(g) agreements groundbreaking through the lens of immigrants’ rights and public safety, not just in New Jersey, but throughout the United States. We also continue to believe that having exceptions to the directive and adding new carve-outs for certain offenses conflicts the Immigrant Trust Directive’s underlying intent: to clearly separate of local law enforcement duties from federal immigration functions. Above all, we know that everyone is safer when community members can approach law enforcement without fear that even a routine interaction could bring devastating consequences on themselves or their families.”

 

Brian Lozano, Community Organizer and Policy Director Wind of the Spirit,

“The fear of detention and separation of families  is at the forefront of our community’s minds. When our state government draws a line between what police are required to do and what they are not allowed to do, this not only helps law enforcement to build trust with the immigrant community, but it also helps community based organizations and state agency’s to do their jobs. When the state is explicit on these demarcations, there is a healthy ripple effect on other public projects and public sphere, such as census engagement and worker’s rights. Wind of the Spirit applauds the Attorney General and his office for making this Directive ever clearer.”

 

###

Share

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.”

Share

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.” 

Share

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.”

Share

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.”

Share

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.”

Share

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.”

Share

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."

Share

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."



Share

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.

Share

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."

Share

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."

###

Share

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.”

Share

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.

Share

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.”

Share

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.



###

 

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

###

 

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

 

Share

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.

 

Share

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.”

Share

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.”

Share

Immigrants’ Rights Advocates Applaud Hackensack Board of Education Passage of Fair and Welcoming School Policy

Hackensack Board of Education unanimously votes to limit cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement by adopting Fair and Welcoming school policy

 

In response to the Hackensack Board of Education’s unanimous vote in support of a district-wide policy protecting students and parents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ) and Hackensack Board of Education member, Johanna Calle, issued the following statement:

"This is a great step forward for the Hackensack community and its students where almost 40 percent of the community members are immigrants. Hackensack Board of Education adopting this Fair and Welcoming school policy will help foster community trust between local residents and community leaders. Immigrant youth will feel comfortable knowing that the school administration, staff, and leadership are committed to enhancing their educational experience and are not wasting precious time and resources working with ICE. This is especially important because ICE has been disregarding honoring sensitive locations like schools. Just last month, the Second Reformed Church of Highland Park saw two parishioners detained by ICE as they dropped their kids off to school. Unfortunately, practices like this, and those that violate people's constitutional rights to privacy and due process, are becoming more common under the Trump administration.  

“Immigrants’ rights advocates across the state applaud Hackensack for adopting a Fair and Welcoming school policy and encourage other districts to do the same by protecting immigrant youth and their families in their schools.”

Share

Immigrants’ Rights Advocates Call on New Jersey to Use Power of State to Protect Immigrant Communities from Deportation

SDSLtd_NJAFIJ_Logo.png

Advocates call on state leadership to do more to shield immigrants from Trump administration’s attacks

In light of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement that the Trump Administration’s Department of Justice will be bringing a lawsuit against the state of California due to their policies limiting the use of local and state resources for Federal immigration enforcement, immigrants’ rights advocates across New Jersey released the following statement:

The Trump administration’s lawsuit against California is another racist attack on immigrant communities and a baseless attempt to block state and local laws that protect communities and increase public safety. Federal courts have overwhelmingly ruled against the Trump administration’s anti-immigration policies including the racist travel bans on Muslim-majority countries, and lawsuits brought by the administration against localities and cities which limit cooperation with ICE. We are confident that courts will yet again uphold the constitution and protect American values.

New Jersey sent a strong message last month by joining a lawsuit that challenges the Trump administration’s policy to block funding to cities and jurisdictions that limit the use of local resources on federal immigration enforcement. New Jersey’s participation shows that the Garden State values its immigrant communities and will stand by cities and jurisdictions that choose to use their resources for community policing and public safety.

As the federal landscape continues to look bleak for immigrant communities, with no permanent solution for Dreamers and their families while the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is being litigated in the courts, the phasing out of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and escalating arrests and deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), immigrants’ rights advocates call on state leadership to take steps to continue to stand up to the Trump administration’s mass deportation scheme. This includes using the power of the state to ensure that local resources are not used to conduct federal immigration enforcement activities and to proactively protect the privacy of all residents by placing clear limitations on the data that state and local agencies collect.

“New Jersey can support making our entire state safer by implementing Fair and Welcoming state policies, thereby limiting local, county, and state cooperation with ICE which puts entire communities at risk,” said Johanna Calle, Director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. “The legislature can also pass common-sense policy expanding access to driver's licenses to all qualified NJ residents, regardless of status. A routine traffic stop, such as getting pulled over for driving without a license, could put an individual at risk of deportation.”

“States and local jurisdictions should not be strong-armed into diverting local resources to pay for the work of the federal government,” said Farrin Anello, Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU of New Jersey. “We’re proud that New Jersey is challenging the Trump administration’s unconstitutional attempt to intimidate fair and welcoming jurisdictions nationwide. When survivors of crime and witnesses are afraid to speak to police because of local collaboration with federal immigration enforcement, our communities become less safe.”

“In the past two years, we have seen ICE increase their efforts to arrest and detain average folks, including moms and dads dropping their kids to schools, Indonesian migrants seeking refuge in New Jersey from religious persecution, and even victims of violence seeking protective orders in courthouses. They do not deserve to be whisked away by ICE without notice,” said Chia-Chia Wang, Advocacy and Organizing Director of American Friends Service Committee.Immigrant communities need to be able to trust that law enforcement’s first concern is public safety, not deporting immigrants. New Jersey’s leadership must take action to protect people from the escalating attacks on immigrant communities and families within the state.”

"New Jersey state officials must not be intimidated by the racist bullying of the federal government," said Olga Armas, member-leader of Make the Road New Jersey. "Here in New Jersey, we rely on our local officials to serve and protect us. I want to make sure that the police will protect me and I want to feel safe dropping my kids off at school. We must continue to champion New Jersey values that respect diversity, inclusion, public safety, and fairness for our families."

New Jersey’s has the third largest foreign-born population in the United States, including over 53,000 young immigrants who are eligible to benefit from the DACA program. Additionally, neither the constitution nor United State’s statute law mandate that states participate in federal immigrant efforts. New Jersey lawmakers must remain steadfast in protecting our communities and prioritizing public safety.  By implementing fair and welcoming policies statewide, New Jersey will ensure that local resources are used to address local and state needs, shield our immigrant neighbors and families from harmful ICE enforcement practices, and stand up to the Trump administration’s coercive tactics and racist mass deportation scheme.

Share

Statement on Hudson County Ending 287(g)

      

Immigrants’ Rights Advocates Respond to Hudson County Ending 287(g) Immigration and Nationality Act Agreement

 

Advocates applaud Hudson County terminating its 287(g) contract and call on state leadership to make statewide policy changes limiting involvement with ICE

 

HUDSON COUNTY-- Today, Director of Corrections of Hudson County jail, Ronald P. Edwards, announced Hudson County’s termination of its 287(g) Immigration and Nationality Act agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The 287(g) program deputizes local or county officers to do federal immigration enforcement using local resources to screen individuals based on immigration status as part of its deportation program. Three other counties in New Jersey including Monmouth, Salem, and Cape May county jails have 287(g) agreements. Too often ICE’s practices violate individual’s fourth amendment rights to due process and privacy. In response, immigrants’ rights advocates released the following statements:

"We are so excited to hear that Hudson County made such a rightful decision in terminating the 287(g) agreement. Local law enforcement should not in any way help carry out immigration enforcement. 287(g) has undermined the trust from the immigrant community and only negatively impact their citizen friends and families. We are seeing more family separations caused by immigration arrests, detention and deportation. Other countries that have similar agreement should terminate it now," said Chia-Chia Wang, Advocacy and Organizing Director of American Friends Service Committee.

“The 287(g) program has been referenced by the Trump administration as a key component of their deportation machine. Today, by ending participation in 287(g), Hudson County has made it clear that they will not support President Trump in his efforts to terrorize immigrants,” said Andrea Long, an organizer with Hudson for All and donor relations manager for the ACLU of New Jersey. “We applaud the freeholders for their role in bringing this contract to an end, and we thank them for supporting all of our neighbors.”

"It is an honor to have been a part of this effort and see the work of our colleagues produce major change for our communities. Counties across the state should follow Hudson County's lead and end their relationships with ICE immediately. These contracts undermine public safety, community trust, and put our localities at risk of legal liability,” said Johanna Calle, Director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. “We will continue to fight to make sure the rest of the state becomes Fair and Welcoming and that our local resources are not used to separate families. We applaud Hudson county for this major step in putting their community over following ICE's unconstitutional practices.”

“I’ve always felt welcomed and safe especially for the past decade that I’ve lived in Hudson County. However, ever since the 2016 election, and with Hudson County having the 287(g) ICE agreement, for the first time, I started to feel unsafe. I’m grateful to County Executive, Tom DeGise and the Hudson County Freeholders for recognizing that this was hurting the entire County and all its residents, including citizens, and that justice should, can and must be prevailed. I feel safe again.” said Nadja K. Rutkowski, Organizer with Hudson for All.

“We commend Hudson County for moving to end the county’s 287(g) program, bringing us one step closer to creating safer spaces for immigrants. Today’s victory is thanks to the tireless organizing by advocates and allies, but our work is far from over, we will continue to fight to defeat policies statewide that terrorize our communities,” said Sally Pillay, Program Director of First Friends New Jersey and New York.

Collaborating with ICE decreases public safety, tears families apart, and creates liability for jurisdictions that participate in these agreements. The rest of the state now has an opportunity to follow Hudson’s lead. We look toward to state and local leadership to follow suit in terminating 287(g) contracts and making New Jersey a Fair and Welcoming state.

Share

Statement on New Jersey Joining National Lawsuit Challenging Trump Decision to End DACA

Trenton, NJ -- The Murphy Administration and Attorney General Gubir S. Grewal announced today that they will be joining the 15 states and the District of Columbia in their lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s termination of the DACA program. The lawsuit was filed on September 6th, 2017 by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in the Eastern District of New York and was later joined by the attorneys general from Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

In response to today’s announcement, New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice Director, Johanna Calle, released the following statement:

“Today is a proud day for New Jersey, our Dreamers and their families as we applaud Governor Murphy and Attorney General Grewal for joining the fight against the Trump Administration’s ruthless and xenophobic attacks on our communities. We are honored to the join the diverse group of states across the nation as we stand in support of America’s 800,000 Dreamers, including 22,000 New Jerseyans who have benefited from the DACA program. These young immigrants call New Jersey their home and their lives have been thrown into chaos and uncertainty since the Trump Administration’s decision to terminate the program. We will stand tall with our immigrant youth and continue to hold our leaders accountable to our American values in resisting the Administration’s attacks and advocating for a path to citizenship for Dreamers and their families.”

Share

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice Responds to Government Shutdown

For Immediate Release

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

Newark, NJ-- In response to the government shutdown, Director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ), Johanna Calle, issued the following statement.

"New Jersey has the third largest immigrant population in the nation with over 17,000 DACA recipients who were brought to the U.S. without status as children. These DREAMers will lose their status if Congress does not pass a permanent solution. For months, the 800,000 DACA recipients across the nation have been anxiously awaiting a solution from Congress that has yet to come. A loss of status will mean an increased threat of deportation, separation from family, and leaving the only home they know.

DACA recipients are students and young professionals who support their mixed-status families. They are productive members of our country. We can no longer wait on more debate and back and forth from Congress as these young DREAMers’ and their families' lives hang in the balance. A clean DREAM act, which does not include funding for an unnecessary border wall or immigration enforcement, is the only acceptable solution to President Trump's termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

We call on Congress to act now to pass a clean DREAM Act. We also call on New Jersey’s congressional delegation to work with their colleagues to ensure it passes swiftly from both the Senate and House. Our communities have been living in fear for far too long. Congress must act now."

Share

The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice Responds to End of TPS for Salvadorans

For Immediate Release

Monday, January 8th, 2018

Newark, NJ –  As of this morning, the Trump administration ended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for over 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants residing in the United States by the administration with expiration date of September 9th, 2019 to leave the country. This is following a November decision which ended TPS for over 60,000 Haitians, Nicaraguans and Sudanese nationals. Many of the Salvadorans are humanitarian migrants who have fled natural disasters and deteriorating conditions in El Salvador since 2001. This decision to end TPS for Salvadorans has again demonstrated the utmost disregard for human rights of migrants and their families as it will not only affect the TPS holders themselves but also their 190,000 U.S-born children who will be separated from their parents if no action is taken to stop this targeted xenophobic and detrimental policy decision. New Jersey is home to over 6,900 Salvadorans TPS holder and their 3,900 U.S born children. We will not stand by while our immigrant communities continue to be threatened and families are separated by deportation. We join our Haitian, Nicaraguan, Sudanese, and Salvadoran brothers and sisters to call on Congress to take immediate steps to protect immigrant communities and keep our families together before the September 9th extension date expires. Congress members must work across party lines to enact legislation which will create a pathway towards legal permanent residency for all TPS immigrants and other immigrants in the United States.

 

Share

The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice Responds to End of TPS for Haitians

For Immediate Release

November 21, 2017

The administration has spent months threatening to end Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for our Haitian brothers and sisters while the community mobilized and pushed for legislation in support of extending this critical program. Yet again, the administration demonstrated their lack of respect for the human rights of our diverse communities or any regard to international humanitarian principles. What they have demonstrated is the ease with which they are able to break our communities and families apart with the stroke of a pen.  Ending TPS for our Haitian brothers and sisters signals DHS' refusal to acknowledge the environmental and infrastructural problems that continue to ail the island. It is also adds to the xenophobia and racism black immigrants face as they are more structurally targeted for detention and deportation. We will fight alongside them for dignity and respect. Congress must act immediately to ensure that families who have found refuge and stability in this country are not forced to go back to an island that is ill-suited for their return. The world is looking to the US to demonstrate what true leadership looks like. We can set an example for all or we can fail to uphold the standards we ask of others.

Share

The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice Condemns New York City Attack

For Immediate Release

November 1, 2017

On behalf of our over 30 faith, labor, community and advocacy member organizations, the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice sends our thoughts and prayers to those impacted by the yesterday’s attack in New York City. We condemn attacks of terror of all kinds. We call for unity - now is the moment to stand together to support the victims and their families. We reject any attempts to use this horrible tragedy to advance an anti-immigrant agenda by vilifying innocent immigrant and Muslim community members. Any calls for “extreme vetting” as that proposed by President Trump are not only misguided but also obviously meant to stir up hate and discrimination rather than progress. It is in unity that we can find strength. It is through real community solidarity rather than grotesque generalizations that will further marginalize immigrants that we will truly heal.

Share

NJAIJ Responds To Trump Administration's Decision To End DACA

For generations of immigrants, America has been a beacon of hope, a chance of a new, bright life, far from the poverty, famine, and war in their homelands. They built this country through their hard work and the belief that in this country they were valued, respected, and had a future. Our history is peppered with their stories and accomplishments. They are the ones who made this country great. President Trump and his administration seems to have forgotten that in their relentless campaign to deny today’s young immigrants the same opportunities that allowed our ancestors to prosper.

The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice vehemently opposes President Trump’s latest anti-immigration push to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a pivotal program that has helped thousands of immigrant youth. His decision to pass on the fate of young immigrants to congress is sad a day for our country and day that will always be remembered in history.  Now, nearly 800,000 young people will face six months of fear and agony with the possibility of deportation if DACA is terminated.   

It is now on to Congress to do what they have failed to do for over two decades, pass legislation that fixes the broken immigration system and addresses the needs of these young people and their families. Our community has been caught between political fights that have constantly failed to solve this problem. Today’s decision was another example of putting politics over the needs of our country. Congress must act immediately and it must act justly, not by deporting more of our families but by making sure the American Dream is truly attainable.

Trump’s short-sighted, narrow-minded immigration policies not only hurt immigrants, but all of us. Most of all, it contradicts the very principles that have established our country and made us that beacon of hope for the rest of the world. Despite this hateful rhetoric, our community is resilient and ready to protect our families from deportation. We will continue to fight for dignity and justice, and will make sure our legislators stand by the values of this great country.  

Share

New Jersey Alliance For Immigrant Justice Responds To Trump Administration's Proposed Raise Act

The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice and our member organizations strongly oppose President Trump’s proposed Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act. This legislation is a discriminatory policy and an affront to our values as a country built by immigrants.

The RAISE Act would replace the current permanent employment-visa framework with a skills-based system that severely limits those who can immigrate legally to the United States. It is estimated that the bill would cut legal immigration by 50 percent, primarily by removing opportunities for family reunification, and create a biased point system based on stereotypes and anti-immigrant sentiment, rather than sound economic policy. 

President Trump could do far more to ensure fair wages for American workers by raising the minimum wage. To blame immigrants for the woes of the working-class is not only false, but irresponsible. Facts matter, and research shows that immigrants-- both documented and undocumented -- are an asset to the United States. While the president’s administration works to worsen the immigration policies, many experts predict that drastically curtailing immigration in this way would wreak havoc on our economy

Today’s immigrants seeking refuge here are no different than those of generations past. Most come here poor and looking to better themselves economically. What they bring with them is courage and the ability to work hard to succeed in their new home. Our history has been to support and welcome all immigrants, regardless of their education or skill level. President Trump, along with Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, seem to have forgotten that. The legislation they proposed is based on prejudice rather than facts.

Read more
Share

Statement by The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice on Border Wall Vote

Newark, NJ – July 27, 2017 - On Thursday, the House passed a $789 billion defense spending package, with $1.6 billon of taxpayer money going towards the construction of a border wall along the southwest border of the Unites States.

While the NJIAJ supports our veterans and their equal protection, this bill is nothing more than false military promises to the American people. We are frankly appalled that congress included provisions that had no impact on the wellbeing of our military or the safety of our country. We are more disappointed that they would send 1.6 billion towards something that has been proven by experts not to work. If our elected officials really wanted our safety and that of our veterans, they would support more comprehensive policies that fix a broken immigration system. The truth is, the construction of a border wall is based on mistaken information and myths about immigrants, which are perpetuated by the President’s hateful rhetoric. For generations, immigrants have contributed to the development and global competitiveness of the United States.  The NJIAJ recognizes immigrants to be an integral part of America’s fabric. We will continue to speak against any false narratives that stigmatize immigrants as criminals and intruders.

Read more
Share

VOTE NO Sanctuary Cities H.R. 3003 and Kate's Law H.R. 3004

June 29, 2017

Dear Congress member,

Re: Sanctuary Cities H.R. 3003 and Kate's Law H.R. 3004

On behalf of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice and its member organizations, we are writing to vehemently voice our opposition to “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” (H.R. 3003) and “Kate’s Law” (H.R. 3004). As a statewide community of human and civil rights organizations, we urge you to vote NO on these two anti-immigrant bills, which will serve to undercut law enforcement’s ability to keep our communities safe, and will jeopardize national security and hurt victims in need. Passage of these bills would be devastating to our community members who face real threats of violence in your district. 

Read more
Share

NJ Immigrant Advocates Condemn Trump’s targeting of Muslim Communities and Refugees

Advocates vow to continue fighting for the rights of all immigrants

For Immediate Release

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Trenton, NJ – Members of the Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ), a coalition of 30 organizations statewide, released the following statements condemning President Trump’s plans to target Muslim communities and refugees:

“Our immigrant community is diverse and resilient, and an attack on any of us is an attack on all of us. We stand for our right to seek a better life for ourselves and our loved ones. We have come from other countries looking for the American dream, a journey that many have taken for generations. New Jersey was one of the major points of entry for immigrants coming from Europe over a century ago, and we continue to be a major destination for immigrants seeking a better future. We don't believe in closing the door behind us once we are here, and we stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters who are fleeing violence and who now face detention and deportation. We will not stay quiet as this administration targets our community one by one, and we ask that our elected officials stand by our side in this fight. We will work with all immigrants to protect the values of the country we have loved from afar and have served since we arrived, through advocacy and community organizing,” said NJAIJ Program Coordinator Johanna Calle on behalf of the NJ Alliance for Immigrant Justice.

Share

NJ Immigrant Advocates Condemn Trump’s Plans for Increased Enforcement Announced Today

Advocates vow to continue fighting for the rights

of New Jersey immigrants, pledging: ‘We are here to stay’

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Trenton, NJ – Members of the Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ), a coalition of more than 25 organizations statewide, released the following statements condemning President Trump’s plans to target immigrant communities through increased enforcement, as well as the proposed pressure on localities that refuse to participate in voluntary immigration enforcement:

“New Jersey has the third largest immigrant population in the country. The close collaboration proposed by the president between local law enforcement and federal agencies will erode the trust of more than 400,000 undocumented immigrants in our state alone, and it will lead to more people forced into the shadows. This new initiative will sow fear and paranoia within our communities, pinning neighbors against neighbors and causing unnecessary issues for our local governments. Any threats of financial punishment are only meant to strong-arm cities into engaging in practices that they know will damage their communities. We will not stand by as many of us are criminalized for non-violent offenses and demonized in the eyes of the public. Throwing people in jail and aggressively pursuing deportation, which divides children from parents and deprives families and businesses of income, are not the way to keep our communities safe. 

Read more
Share

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice to Hold Annual Summit

Senator Robert Menendez Delivered Keynote Address

 

On Saturday, December 10, the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice held their annual conference, the New Jersey Immigrants Rights Summit 2016. The Summit included various workshops lead by member organizations on various topics with over 100 registered participants.

“As we prepare for a potentially unprecedented attack on immigrant rights from the new federal administration, it is critical that our diverse coalition from across the state comes together to ensure that we are ready to protect our communities, our neighbors and ourselves,” said Johanna Calle, Program Coordinator of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. “This will be a day to take stock of the threats to our communities and discuss how best to defend against them.”

Pictures here.

Share

The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice reacts to Election Results

Advocates vow to continue fighting for the rights of New Jersey immigrants

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Contact: Johanna Calle, 973-474-9850

Trenton, NJ – Members of the Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ) released the following statement today in reaction to the results of the National election for the Presidency of the United States (Spanish below):

The lack of progress for pro-immigrant policies at the federal level isn't new to our communities. Neither is the fear and concern we are hearing from citizens and immigrants alike. Our community has been under attack during this whole election season but immigrants are resilient fighters. As an Alliance we focus on our state because our communities need progress at every level of government, not just the federal. We need to continue to work for better, pro-immigrant policies for everyone in our cities, counties, state, and congress. We will fight the hateful rhetoric and inhumane policies about immigrants and refugees, and will support our communities through organizing. Our community members are here to stay, and we will fight until every area of our state reflects that. We urge those who aren't already involved in the movement to join a community organization near you, you can find our member organizations on our website. You can also join us at our upcoming Summit on December 10th to learn more about immigrants’ rights in New Jersey.

Read more
Share

New Jersey Immigrant Advocates continue to fight after The Supreme Court Decision on President Obama’s Executive Actions on Immigration

For Immediate Release: June 23, 2016

Trenton, NJ – Members of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ) are disappointed at today’s Supreme Court decision on the President Obama’s executive actions on immigration and vow to fight for relief for immigrant communities.

The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice has been working to create local and statewide policies to improve the lives of immigrants in the state in the absence of meaningful federal immigration reforms. Governor Christie has also failed to fulfill his responsibility to address the needs of New Jersey immigrant residents by denying driver’s licenses for all and services for refugees. New Jersey has the fifth largest foreign born population in the country yet Governor Christie opposes immigrant friendly policies and supports political campaign that is anti-immigrant and spews hatred and intolerance.

And while we call for congress to act, the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice will continue to fight in New Jersey to support the needs of our communities. Fourteen municipalities and six counties have already passed resolutions urging our legislature and governor to act and pass the New Jersey Safe and Responsible Drivers Act. Five cities have passed ordinances creating municipal identification programs that are inclusive of all disenfranchised residents. Five cities have passed wage theft ordinances that hold businesses who don’t follow the law accountable for labor violations. Immigrant communities are organizing with the support and leadership of our Alliance members. While this decision is disappointing, it is clear that more pro-immigrant policies need to be created and passed on the local and state levels. Immigrant communities are resilient and filled with the drive to fight for their rights to live in their communities with dignity and respect. 

Read more
Share

More Than Fifty Immigrant Rights Organizations Urge Our Lawmakers to Reject Brief Opposing Obama’s Immigration Executive Actions

The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice is one of the organizations urging members of the House of Representatives to stand up against hate by voting no

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Mar. 14, 2016

Contact: Marlene Peralta, for NJ Alliance for Immigrant Justice 646.601.4267

Beatriz Lopez, Beatiz.Lopez@seiu.org, 202-412-7396

 

WASHINGTON – Today, more than fifty immigrant rights organizations from across the country released an open letter to members of the House of Representatives urging them to stand up against hate by voting against a resolution to be filed by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). This resolution would authorize the House body to file an official amicus brief in the case pending before the Supreme Court (U.S. v. Texas) that challenges President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration.

The signers of the letter include some of the largest Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and immigrant rights organizations, as well as labor and faith groups. The list includes the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, Center for Community Change, United We Dream, Faith in Public Life, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the National Immigration Law Center and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) among others.

Read more
Share

In Landmark Case, U.S. v. Texas, 326 Civil Rights, Immigration, and Community Groups Urge Supreme Court to Let Immigration Relief Programs Go Forward

NJ Alliance for Immigrant Justice is one of the many organizations that signed the amicus brief featuring profiles of families whose lives would improve if immigration directives were allowed to take effect 

For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 10, 2016

Trenton, NJ – The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice joined a diverse coalition of 326 immigration, civil rights, labor, and social service groups in filing an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Texas, urging the court to lift the injunction that blocked the executive actions on immigration that President Obama announced in November 2014.

The Obama administration’s expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as well as a new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) initiative were stopped by a federal district court in Texas, and that court’s order subsequently was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The lawsuit against the president’s executive actions was brought by 26 states. Late last year the federal government appealed the case to the Supreme Court.

Read more
Share

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice Wants Witnesses to Report Any ICE Activity in New Jersey

The Alliance is focused on informing the immigrant community about their constitutional rights during interactions with ICE

Trenton, NJ – Members of The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant wants to remind community residents of the series of information sessions and other efforts to educate residents about their constitutional rights in case they become in contact with agents from the Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE).

There is a list of resources available on the Alliance website, that includes organizations offering free legal services and a pocket sized “Know your rights” cards, which residents can print out and carry in their wallets. The cards have been distributed by NJAIJ members through January and February and will also be distributed during information sessions scheduled throughout the month of February and March. All the information is available in both English and Spanish.

**The Alliance has also created an online form where members of the community can report whether they have seen or interacted in any way with immigration agents in the state.  The information provided will be kept strictly confidential.

The aggressive tactics used by ICE agents throughout the state have become increasingly visible spiking fear among immigrants. The Department of Homeland Security announced in December that it would start a new wave of raids and deportations nationwide.  Although they claim New Jersey is not one of their focus areas, community members have been reporting the presence of ICE agents in different parts of the State.

 

For more information, visit the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice website by clicking here

Share

Dover passes municipal I.D. card program

Share

Activistas pro-inmigrantes catalogan como “un paso adelante” la decisión del Supremo de debatir la acción ejecutiva del presidente Obama sobre inmigración

Para publicación inmediata: Miércoles, 20 de enero, 2016

Trenton, NJ – Miembros de la Alianza de Justicia Para Inmigrantes de New Jersey (NJAIJ) publicó las siguientes declaraciones dando su visto bueno al anuncio de que la Corte Suprema tomará una decisión sobre la acción ejecutiva del presidente Obama sobre inmigración.

La acción ejecutiva del presidente ha estado en un limbo legal por mas de un año como resultado de una demanda en su contra. Si la máxima Corte da su aprobación, las medidas del presidente otorgarían alivio migratorio a millones de familias por medio del programa de Acción Diferida para Padres de Ciudadanos Estadounidenses y Residentes Permanentes Legales (DAPA) y por la extensión del programa de Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia (DACA).

Casi la mitad de los mas de 400,000 inmigrantes indocumentados que residen en Nueva Jersey podrían calificar para estos programas de alivio migratorio federal.

 “Realmente me da mucha alegría y esperanza escuchar que van a revisar el caso. Este es un paso muy importante y le pido a Dios que esa corte escuche realmente los sufrimientos de familias como la mía. Tengo 16 años y un hijo ciudadano de este país y cada día es una incertidumbre para los dos. Estoy convencida que tener este alivio migratoria no solamente ayuda a las familias inmigrantes sino que fortifica la economía de este país y eso es bueno para todos. Ojala este se haga una realidad”, dijo María Sánchez , voluntaria de Wind of the Spirit, Immigrant Resource Center

“Me siento muy esperanzado ahora que se que DAPA estará avanzando. Como padre de dos niños nacidos en este país, me preocupo a diario de la posibilidad de ser separado de mi familia como resultado del fallido sistema actual de migración, ahora mas con las redadas. Si DAPA se implementa, podré ofrecerle mejor vida a mis hijos, podré tener mejor empleo y asegurar que mi familia esté segura”, dijo Edison Hernández, miembro de Make the Road NJ en Elizabeth, NJ.

Share

Immigrant Advocates Say The Supreme Court Decision To Rule on President Obama’s Executive Actions on Immigration is a “Step Forward”

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 

Trenton, NJ – Members of the Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ) released the following statements today commending The Supreme Court for announcing it would make a decision regarding President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

President Obama’s executive order would grant relief to millions of immigrants through the Deferred Action for Parents of American and Lawful Permanent Resident (DAPA) and the extended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

New Jersey is home to over 400,000 undocumented immigrants and at least half would qualify in the Supreme Court rules in favor of DAPA and DACA.

“It really gives me great joy and hope that they will review the case. This is a very important step and I pray to God that the highest court hears all the suffering that families like mine really go through. I have been living here for 16 years with a son who is an American citizen and each and everyday day we both live under deep uncertainty. I am convinced that this relief not only helps immigrant families but it strengthens the economy of this country and this is great for all. I hope this becomes a reality,” said Maria Sanchez , volunteer at Wind of the Spirit, Immigrant Resource Center.

(Spanish version) “Realmente me da mucha alegria y esperanza escuchar que van a revisar el caso. Este es un paso muy importante y le pido a Dios que esa corte escuche realmente los sufrimientos de familias como la mia. Tengo 16 años y un hijo ciudadano de este pais y cada dia es una incertidumbre para los dos. Estoy convencida que tener este alivio migratoria no solamente ayuda a las familias inmigrantes sino que fortifica la economia de este pais y eso es bueno para todos. Ojala este se haga una realidad”, dijo Maria Sanchez , voluntaria de Wind of the Spirit, Immigrant Resource Center

Read more
Share

Freehold police to immigrant community: Don't be afraid

Share

Adios 2015

A Goodbye to 2015 with Victories and a Solidified Immigrant Platform 

Friends and Partners,

The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ) has had many major wins on campaign platform issues this year thanks to the work and leadership of our member organizations. However, the urgent need and important opportunity to help bring about local and state changes continues as we wait for the courts and the federal government to issue relief to immigrant families.

New Jersey for All Campaign

We launched our New Jersey for All campaign in March in order to increase our impact to create change. Our campaign targets all levels of government to achieve policy changes that will build momentum for statewide impact. The local advocacy focuses on the creation of municipal identification; passage of wage theft ordinances; change in detainer policies; and resolutions in support of driver’s licenses. The state level advocacy includes legislative outreach efforts to obtain driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrant residents. Our local-to-statewide approach builds a groundswell for work that will continue to gather support from our communities and move toward a more pro-immigrant state. While this issue has been a priority for advocates for decades, we are determined to continue working to making it happen for the half a million immigrants living in New Jersey.

Local Policy Wins and Progress

The Cities of Newark and Roselle established government issued ID programs. The City of Dover passed an ordinance before Christmas, with many more cities doing the same 2016. Princeton, New Brunswick, Newark, Jersey City, and Highland Park passed wage theft ordinances. Twelve municipalities and four counties have passed local resolutions in support of a state policy. Heading into the New Year and with even more concrete evidence that our families are in danger of deportation, our members will continue to monitor the actions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency and determine the best practices to update anti-detainer policies and end family separations in our communities.

The Push for Driver’s Licenses

This year we saw momentum built around licenses for all, with Assemblywoman Annette Quijano introducing a new Driver’s License bill in early May. In November over a thousand people stood outside of the statehouse in a major action organized by our members to see the bill passed the Homeland Security Committee. We are sure that our members will be back to Trenton to continue to push for this policy in the new legislative session. 

DACA & DAPA

We also joined an amicus brief in support of the President’s Executive Actions in the Texas V. US case. We helped convene a group of legal service providers, Community Based Organizations, advocates and others to coordinate communication and resources in preparation for Administrative Relief. We will continue to share resources among partners and allies so that our communities are better prepared for the eminent implementation of DAPA and DACA.

Our Membership Keeps on Growing

Our membership has grown to twenty-four organizations, bringing together the power of faith, community, advocacy and labor to bring wins to communities across the state. Their voices continue to drive our work and guide us in the quest for a more immigrant friendly New Jersey.

Pushing for More Pro-immigrant Policies in 2016

The NJAIJ will continue to support and coordinate actions with our New Jersey for All campaign. Alliance members have already identified municipalities and counties that are likely to consider and pass pro-immigrant ordinances and we will continue to reach out to our partners to expand our work and coordinate our efforts.

As we move forward into 2016 we hope to have more of you by our side. If you are an individual looking to get involved, we urge you to connect with one of our member organizations near you. If your organization is not a member of the NJAIJ but is interested, please complete the membership inquiry here.

In solidarity,

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice

Read more
Share

NJ Immigrant Advocates Condemn Plans for Massive Raids Scheduled to Start in January According to Reports

For Immediate Release

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Contact: Marlene Peralta, 646.601.4267

Trenton, NJ. – Members of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrants Justice, a coalition of over 20 organizations statewide, released the following statement condemning the Department of Homeland Security plans for massive raids. According to reports, the nationwide plans are to be carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as early as January.

 “Plans to deport hundreds of immigrants fleeing violence in their Central American countries are just outrageous. Anybody fleeing violence should be granted the same humanitarian protections given to other refugees. Incarcerating and using aggressive deportation tactics is not the solution. We demand that Congress stops playing political games and establish real immigration reform that creates policies that protect families not put them at risk,” said Johanna Calle, Program Coordinator at the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ). “DHS’s alleged raids plan will only separate families and deprive migrants’ right to seek for better lives, a move that’s absolutely inhumane and un-American,” she continued.

“It’s a bad news for the community. Central American migrants are afraid of going back to their countries because of war, crimes and in particular gang violence that’s targeting youth. Many of them have already lost their family members back in home country. They are seeking for safety and protection that we ought to provide,” said Blanca Molina, Director of Centro Comunitario CEUS, an Alliance member serving Central Americans in Union City.

The state of New Jersey is home to about 200,000 undocumented immigrants. Many unaccompanied minors and adults who crossed the border to come to New Jersey are seeking a safe place to live and many to be united with their family members living in this great state.

Just in the 2015 fiscal year, roughly Immigration and Customs Enforcement of DHS have deported 5,000 immigrants from New Jersey alone. In 2014, the number was of approximately 10,000. Overall, President Obama and his administration deported over 300,000 immigrants including parents with citizen children every year from 2008 to 2014.

Share

Immigrant Advocates Celebrate the Passage of Dover Municipal ID Program

Dover is now the third city in New Jersey to establish a government ID program for all its residents 

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Dover, NJ. – This Tuesday evening, a diverse group of local residents and advocates from Wind of the Spirit, a member organization of The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, gathered inside Dover Town Hall to witness and celebrate the historic approval of the municipal ID ordinance.

Dover City Council approved the ordinance unanimously with 9-0 votes in favor. The program will help many families who did not have access to a government issued identification.

"Dover is a unique town that welcomes immigrants, offers assistance to folks rebuilding their lives after addiction, and provides relief to the homeless. Each of these vulnerable groups are part of our community, but they often lack access to driver's licenses and other forms of identification. Municipal IDs help us to recognize the inherent worth of each person, to open doors to resources in the community, and to increase the level of safety and trust in our community. Municipal IDs have proven to improve towns and cities like New Haven, Connecticut, San Francisco, California, and Washington DC. It is time we welcome the benefits of this program in Dover as well," said Karol Ruiz, immigration attorney from Dover and board member of Wind of the Spirit.

“As a Dover native, I am proud to be involved in the process of creating a Municipal ID for my community. This ID has multiple benefits; first, it will allow some to open bank accounts and cash checks; and secondly, it will help to unify our community by allowing for better communication between Dover residents and law enforcement; lastly, it will help local business. By creating an incentive program, it encourages our residents to shop local. Overall, this policy will better the quality of life for residents, authority figures, and businesses,” said Jackie Zapata, Civic Participation Coordinator for Wind of the Spirit.

“Dover took a great step by moving forward with a municipal ID program that is inclusive of all its residents. It will benefit many marginalized communities, including immigrants, and all members of the community by providing them with a city identification card they can use to improve their quality of life. All its residents can obtain an ID card to open a bank account, to gain hospital admission, and even to pick up a package at the post office without problems,” said Johanna Calle, Program Coordinator, New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. 

The local government identification program would benefit all its residents regardless of immigration status. 

Share

Progress of Driver’s License Legislation/Progreso del proyecto de ley sobre licencias de conducir

For Immediate Release

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Trenton, NJ – The New Jersey State Legislature is still reviewing the bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, which seeks to expand access to driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants who live in the state.

The legislation was advanced last month in the state Assembly but it still needs to go through other committee votes in both the Assembly and now the Senate.

Once the initiative is approved by both chambers, it would need to be signed by Governor Chris Christie to officially become law.

Español:

Trenton, NJ – La Legislatura Estatal de New Jersey continúa evaluando el proyecto de ley patrocinado por la asambleísta Annette Quijano, que permitiría que inmigrantes indocumentados que residan en el estado, puedan solicitar licencias de conducir.

La propuesta tuvo avances en la Asamblea estatal el mes pasado pero todavía debe ser evaluada y aprobada por otros comites tanto de la Asamblea como del Senado estatal.

Una vez el proyecto de ley es aprobado por ambas cámaras, luego necesita la firma del gobernador Chris Christie para covertirse oficialmente en ley.

**Please check our Facebook and Twitter pages for mores updates

Visite nuestras páginas de Facebook y Twitter para mas actualizaciones

Visite/Click here: Facebook & Twitter

Share

New Jersey Advocates Applaud the Approval of the Driver’s License Legislation in the Assembly’s Homeland Security Committee

The important vote took place as hundreds marched to Trenton State House in Support of the Bill Introduced by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano

 

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Contact: Johanna Calle, NJAIJ Program Coordinator, 973-474-9850 (office) and 201-580-3060 (cell)

Marlene Peralta, 646.601.4267

Trenton, NJ. – Hundreds of immigrant advocates, local residents, faith and business leaders gathered outside Trenton State House on Monday to celebrate the historic approval of the driver’s license legislation in the Assembly’s homeland security committee.

The Committee voted 3 to 2 in favor of the bill introduced by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, which would expand driver’s licenses access to hard-working undocumented immigrants in New Jersey.

The historic approval took place as hundreds marched to Trenton State House in support of the legislation. The Homeland Security Committee is the first of four committees to vote on this important legislation.

Read more
Share

New Jersey Advocates React to Fifth Circuit Court Decision Against President Obama’s Executive Actions on Immigration

The faith of about 200,000 New Jerseyans are in limbo as a result of this decision

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, November 10th 2015

Contact: Marlene Peralta, 646.601.4267

Trenton, NJ – The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice is expressing disappointment about the Fifth Circuit Court decision because it delays even more the much needed relief to hard working families at risk of getting separated by unjust immigration policies.

New Jersey is home to over 400,000 undocumented immigrants and at least half would qualify for the Deferred Action for Parents of American and Lawful Permanent Resident (DAPA) and extended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

“We are extremely disappointed and worried about the Court’s decision. This is a mistake that puts 4 in 10 undocumented New Jerseans at risk of deportation. We are talking about parents, sisters, farmers, business owners”, said Johanna Calle, Program Coordinator at the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. 

“There is no justification for this delay. For too long Congress has failed to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform leaving the President no choice but to use his executive power to find alternative solutions to protect millions of families. We are confident that President Obama will appeal the decision. Our organization will also continue to organize and fight for fair policies for our immigrant communities,” she added.

Share

Advocates and Elected Officials Called for the Expansion of Drivers Licenses to All New Jerseyans

The push comes as part of a wave of municipal and county actions that have attracted a broad level of support for this measure 

For Immediate Release

Monday, November 9, 2015

Contact: Johanna Calle, NJAIJ Program Coordinator, 973-474-9850 (office) and 201-580-3060 (cell)

Marlene Peralta, 646.601.4267

Trenton, NJ. – A diverse group of advocates, faith and business leaders, law enforcement and elected officials held a press conference on the steps of the Trenton State House urging for the approval of the legislation that will expand driving license access to all New Jersey residents.

The legislation introduced by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-20) and Senator Joseph Vitale (D-19) in May of this year, has been gaining support for a variety of sectors after a wave of municipal and county actions organized by NJAIJ. Union County Sheriff Joe Cryan and the Hispanic Law Enforcement Association of Essex County are among the latest endorsers.

“Today's press conference is the culmination of months of hard work in seeking a hearing for Assembly Bill 4425, which allows persons who are undocumented be able to apply and test for driver licenses. Every individual should have the ability to apply for a driver’s license in the state of New Jersey,” said Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Elizabeth), the prime sponsor of the bill in the Assembly.

“It’s about everyone driving safely on our roads,” said Senator Joseph Vitale, the prime sponsor of the bill in the Senate.

Read more
Share