HACKENSACK, NJ - Bergen County Republicans charged the county’s Democratic freeholders with being grossly hypocritical for accepting millions of dollars of federal tax money to house illegal immigrants in the county jail, yet supporting Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s sanctuary state policies that discourage enforcing immigration laws.

The Republicans said the Democratic freeholders gladly took in more than $16 million from federal taxpayers in 2018 to house illegal immigrants in the county jail, but refuse to rebuke Gov. Murphy’s pro-illegal alien policies, including the edict that prohibits local law enforcement from cooperating with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to detain those in the country illegally.

“It is extremely hypocritical for Democratic Freeholders to denounce ICE and the president, yet balance the county budget on the $16 million they receive from ICE,” said GOP Freeholder candidate Corrado Belgiovine, a Woodcliff Lake councilman. “They should be sending a thank you card to President Trump.”

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“Freeholder Germain Ortiz is a devout supporter of Gov. Murphy’s misguided and unlawful sanctuary state policies that cost taxpayers millions of dollars and put citizens in danger; yet she is addicted to the federal revenue that comes from ICE officials doing their job,” added Alyssa Dawson,  a GOP freeholder candidate from  Westwood “She can’t have it both ways.”

Republicans say the county Democrats are putting political correctness above public safety.  “Freeholder Ortiz, the entire freeholder board and the county executive are pandering for votes to the extreme leftists rather than enforcing American laws and protecting the citizens of Bergen County, said Republican freeholder candidate Kathleen Cericola of Waldwick. “If Freeholder Ortiz believes so strongly in her illegal alien cause, why doesn’t she propose a resolution to turn down the money from ICE?”

The Bergen Republicans say they are encouraging all 70 municipalities in Bergen to pressure the governor to overturn the edicts that tie the hands of local law enforcement and cooperation with federal immigration officials.

Republicans throughout the state are becoming increasingly upset with Gov. Murphy’s open door, hands-off policy toward people who enter the country illegally. Officials in Sussex County are clashing with the state over a ballot initiative that opposes the governor’s illegal alien restrictions placed on law enforcement last year and the Ocean County Freeholders recently voted to sue the state over the Murphy policy that prevents local police from working with ICE.  A Democratic councilman from Brick township James Fozman switched parties because of the governor’s illegal alien policies and blasted his colleagues for failing to support a resolution condemning the Immigrant Trust Directive enacted by Murphy and the state Attorney general late last year

As part of that directive, county jails were also prohibited from renewing so-called Section 287(g) agreements with the feds. In the past, under 287(g) county jails agreed to turn over undocumented immigrants charged with a crime to ICE within 48 hours.

Under Murphy's new orders, county jails in New Jersey now cannot hand someone over to ICE unless they have serious or violent charges pending against them, or final deportation orders. ICE must now first get a warrant if they want to detain someone in the county jail for a suspected immigration violation. This is a legal step ICE rarely had to take under President Barack Obama.

“Gov. Murphy and the Bergen Democrats are making the job of protecting the public harder, said Saddle Brook Police Chief Robert Kugler, a former Democrat. “The Bergen County Democrats are playing identity politics with people’s lives, trolling for votes, while gladly accepting federal money from an administration they hate to prop up their enormous county budget,” added Kugler.

Under Gov. Murphy’s directive, police in Atlantic County released an illegal alien in July who ran over and killed a 7-year-old boy and severely injured his 71-year-old grandmother. Police say they were following Gov. Murphy’s directive.