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.
Increased immigration enforcement isn't new to our communities, but the level of scorn projected onto immigrant communities has reached a new intensity that harkens to darker decades in America’s past. Immigrants and refugees have been under attack for many years, reaching its peak with the hateful, violent rhetoric of this new administration, but immigrants are resilient fighters. As an Alliance we will continue to focus on supporting local progress because only through strong leadership from our local officials will we be able to protect the hardworking families affected by these misguided and inhumane initiatives.
We will continue to advocate pro-immigrant policies for everyone in our state, through policies that promote fairness and inclusion, not hate and fear. Our communities are ready to organize and build support for local leaders standing up in resistance to oppressive policies that will only make our communities less safe. We are here to stay and we will continue to fight for the rights of all of the residents of our state,” said NJAIJ Program Coordinator Johanna Calle on behalf of the NJ Alliance for Immigrant Justice.
“President Trump’s actions today do nothing more than stir panic and fear in the hearts of millions while encouraging a Wild West vigilante culture among those looking to scapegoat innocent Americans. Punishing some of the most dynamic and welcoming cities in our country by blocking federal funding is a mean-spirited move that will surely inflict pain on our communities but won’t undermine our resolve to continue fighting for commonsense immigration reform,” said Kevin Brown, Director, 32BJ SEIU.
We will continue to stand up alongside local government in New Jersey against the racist and bigoted policies of President Trump. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that all communities can flourish and feel welcome here in New Jersey,” said Craig Garcia, Political Director, New Jersey Working Families.
“Make no mistake: Trump’s orders today will sow fear and division, harm public safety for all, and threaten our fundamental rights. We promise to do everything in our power to prevent this administration from harming New Jersey’s families, communities, and economy. Rounding up immigrants and throwing them in jail rather than observing the rule of law will not stand. The human wall that we’ll form to protect our communities will be far more powerful than one made of just concrete,” said ACLU-NJ Public Policy Director Ari Rosmarin.
“Our communities will continue to fight to live in peace and in dignity. We will not cower in fear, we will organize and be ready to protect our families and our loved ones. No human being is illegal, we will not allow our communities to be criminalized,” said Diana Mejia, Wind of the Spirit.