Highland Park Reinforces the State with Policies to Protect its Immigrant Community

Gov. Phil Murphy in statement on Thursday, July 11, said the state is preparing for possible U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids this weekend and in the future, and he’s planning to take action to protect immigrants.

His administration is proactively reaching out to immigrant communities “to make sure they know we stand with them and are prepared to do whatever we can to protect them.”

“Let’s be clear: The Trump Administration’s fear-mongering is un-American and dangerous,” the governor said in the statement. “These raids do not make us safer; they will only make the work of local law enforcement more challenging and increase fears in our hardworking immigrant communities.”

Highland Park Mayor Gayle Brill Mittler noted “Highland Park has a clear and decisive policy regarding our position protecting our new residents.”

HPPD directive #42 states that Highland Park’s police officers are mandated to: “maintain the trust built between the police and the state’s large and diverse immigrant population and to comply with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Directive…. The threats coming out of Washington warning of extensive actions against immigrant families is a tactic to sow fear in the lives of families in Highland Park and across the nation. No family should be made to live in fear in America. Let’s remember Emma Lazarus’ words carved into the base of the Statue of Liberty, the same statue that greeted so many of our residents’ ancestors who sought escape from persecution and a better life for their families; “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” 

HPPD Directive 42 goes on to state that “…it is the policy of the Highland Park Police Department to ensure. That all members of the public have access to police services and protections regardless of their immigration status in accordance with Attorney General Guidelines.”

The mayor is in discussions with the HP police chief and captain regarding this directive and any possible ICE activity in Highland Park on Sunday and in the future.

ICE is moving forward with targeted raids beginning Sunday of least 2,000 immigrants who have been previously ordered deported, according to The New York Times.

Ten cities are on the potential target list according some sources, but no news outlets are reporting that New Jersey cities were on the targeted list.S

New Jersey in the past has been the target of ICE raids before, however. And these ICE raids could happen anywhere in New Jersey; they have before. Nearly all of New Jersey’s counties have had some type of enforcement action since President Trump took office in January 2017.

In May, ICE arrested 13 immigrants in New Jersey during a four-day surge effort that targeted people for a variety of alleged offenses – including failure to depart the United States by a specific deadline and/or criminal charges.

Gov. Murphy said his administration is doing what it can to make sure immigrants have legal representation and protection.

“Any family who needs legal representation should know there are many pro bono legal services available to them,” he said. “We will be doing everything we can to highlight these resources and to make sure our immigrant communities know their rights and feel at home.”

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