SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ — Republican gubernatorial candidate Kim Guadagno is adamantly against New Jersey becoming a sanctuary state. The former Monmouth County sheriff recently released her proposal to completely ban sanctuary cities in New Jersey, saying that they endanger the lives of the public, risk cutting off federal funding and put law enforcement officers’ lives in jeopardy. 

Guadagno adds that her opponent, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, would break the oath of the Office of Governor to uphold state and federal laws if he were to win the election and push forth his plan to make New Jersey a sanctuary state.

“As a former federal and state prosecutor and a sheriff, I’m well aware of the dangers that a sanctuary state presents to the public,” said Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno in a recent interview with TAPinto South Plainfield.  “Your No. 1 job as a governor is to keep people safe.”

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In contrast, former ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy has plans to make New Jersey a sanctuary state if elected governor.

“When Phil Murphy calls for a sanctuary state, that means that he would harbor sanctioned, or release into the community, violent criminals like the ones you saw last week when Middlesex County released 36  individuals into the community that immigration officers had to thereafter go round up,”  added Guadagno. “Some of them were convicted of crimes and had outstanding warrants from the immigration authorities.” 

The issue of sanctuary cities has been a subject of heated debate for the gubernatorial candidates.  Last week, during a five-day operation, Immigration Customs Enforcement officials (ICE) arrested 36 individuals in Middlesex County, who were in the United States illegally. Middlesex County officials had released the individuals from jail without contacting ICE because of an ordinance passed this summer making the Middlesex County a sanctuary county.

“These 36 individuals could have been detained had anybody simply picked up the phone and called immigration,” Guadagno said. “They did not, and instead they released people who had been charged and convicted of hand gun offenses, aggravated assault, child endangerment, possession of heroin, back out to the Middlesex County community. That’s the problem with sanctuary states.”

Guadagno, who was the first woman elected sheriff in Monmouth County in 2007, recently backed a state law banning sanctuary cities in New Jersey and authorizing the governor to withhold funds from municipalities and cities that harbor violent criminals.

“The first problem with sanctuary states is that public safety is put at risk,” added Guadagno. “The second problem is that funding may be put at risk because the federal government has said that they are considering withholding funding from municipalities that call themselves sanctuary cities.  Then the third is that law enforcement officers are put at risk because these immigration officers come in anyway. They have federal authority. We can’t stop them from coming in and executing lawful warrants. Let’s say they come in to a city and execute warrants and get into some other kind of trouble doing the arrests, they could not call on local law enforcement for back up because it’s a sanctuary state.”

Guadagno said that her opponent would break his oath of office if he were to be elected and follow through with his plan to make New Jersey a sanctuary state as governor.

“When you take the oath of office to become the governor, you swear to uphold the state laws and the federal laws, so Phil Murphy immediately said he’s going to violate his oath,” said Guadagno. “If he didn’t think it out, and figure that allowing New Jersey to become a sanctuary state would be a public safety risk, that disqualifies him as governor. If he did think it out, and is ignoring the public safety risk, that disqualifies him as governor as well.”

In order to prevent counties and cities from passing ordinances like Middlesex County’s sanctuary city status, Guadagno has proposed a sanctuary city ban that would block politicians from adopting sanctuary city policies in New Jersey. Guadagno also proposes that the governor be given the authority to withhold funding or issue fines to sanctuary cities harboring violent criminals, which would contain existing sanctuary cities. And she would require law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration officials and run background checks of criminals in New Jersey jails and prisons.

Guadagno said she feels that banning sanctuary cities and counties in New Jersey can help citizens avoid tragedies from occurring like the brutal attack of a child in Trenton, NJ a month ago.

“Trenton is a sanctuary city,” said Guadagno. “Recently, there was a man arrested for Peeping Tom charges in Trenton. Had they not been a sanctuary city, they would have run the detainer, found an immigration detainer outstanding on him and held him until the immigration authorities could come and process him. Because they didn’t run his status, he was released back out into the community and two weeks later, climbed up into a second story window and raped a 6-year-old girl. That’s my main objection to sanctuary states. It puts the public’s safety at risk.”

“This state is my home, and I want it to be a safe, affordable place for my children and grandchildren to live, work and raise a family,” Guadagno said.  “This isn’t about politics. It’s about them.”