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

Freehold police to immigrant community: Don't be afraid


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. 


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

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.


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. 


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.


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


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

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.


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

Essex County Unanimously Passes Resolution in Support of a State Driver’s Licenses for Immigrants

Hundreds in Essex County gather in support of a unanimous resolution urging the state legislature to issue licenses to undocumented immigrants

For Immediate Release

October 29, 2015

Contact: Vera Parra, Community Organizer, Faith in New Jersey, 917-519-7656 –

Newark – Over 500 community members gathered yesterday in support as Essex County passed a unanimous resolution urging the state government to enact legislation allowing the Motor Vehicle Commission to issue driver licenses to individuals who cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States. Essex County is the fourth to pass a resolution in support of Drivers Licenses, joining Union, Hudson, and Cumberland Counties. The vote signals growing momentum in support for pending legislation [S2925 and A4425] that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain licenses for the purposes of driving in the state, after being properly tested and insured.

Following the vote, Freeholder Rolando Bobadilla addressed hundreds of supporters assembled on the steps of the Hall of Records encouraging community members to continue fighting for the bill in Trenton. Thirteen other states already have this type of policy and have seen lower number of unlicensed drivers on the roads, therefore making them safer for everyone. 

Read more