NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — While some residents have grown wary of whether the city will protect its population of undocumented immigrants as Donald Trump’s presidency rolls on, Mayor Jim Cahill has said New Brunswick will continue to have their backs.
The issue was ignited in part by a Daily Targum article last week in which city spokesperson Jennifer Bradshaw said New Brunswick is not a “sanctuary city.” The informal title is often used to describe communities that help undocumented immigrants and don’t tip off federal agents to their whereabouts.
The article claimed New Brunswick police follow guidelines set by the county, state and federal governments, which set off worries in the Hub City’s sprawling community of immigrants and activists.
But in a written statement this weekend, Mayor Jim Cahill attempted to assuage those fears. He said city cops neither enforce immigration laws nor “participate in raids or investigations” regarding undocumented residents.
“In these sensitive times, we will work to prevent those that would tear apart what makes New Brunswick the great and unique place that it is, it social fabric, whether by harsh immigration enforcement policies or misinformation that erodes trust among our community stakeholders,” Cahill said in the statement.
The mayor said city cops have “worked hard to build trust” among New Brunswick’s immigrants and will continue that mission.
While Cahill didn’t label the municipality a “sanctuary city,” he said New Brunswick has put into action pro-immigrant policies and performs services that are often associated with such cities. For example, he said, the city doesn’t prosecute undocumented immigrants on that basis alone or use city money to enforce such federal laws.
The city also makes its services available to immigrants, he said. Cahill then listed a number of programs and proposals that are designed to help those individuals.
“We will continue to be a community that welcomes, respects and protects all our residents, including those who are immigrants, both documented and undocumented,” the mayor said.
The news comes shortly before a planned phone blitz and protest on Cahill’s office by activists seeking New Brunswick to be labeled a sanctuary city. They plan to call Cahill and other city officials in the early afternoon and then take to City Hall around 4 p.m.