WESTFIELD, NJ – Representatives from Make the Road New Jersey, an immigrant advocacy organization, staged a noontime demonstration at Congressman Leonard Lance’s Westfield office to protest President Trump’s immigration policies.
The encounter was part of a multi-state action by members of Make the Road New Jersey, Make the Road New York, Make the Road Connecticut, and Make the Road Pennsylvania. The action falls on the final day of the Congressional Recess before representatives return to Washington to debate the federal budget.
Since the congressman was not present, the group presented a letter addressed to him to his staff. Citing that immigration enforcement has increased by 38 percent since President Trump took office, the letter stated, “Immigration raids are sweeping our country, tearing apart families and the very fabric of our communities. In the first few months of his presidency, President Trump has laid out his vision for mass deportation through three executive orders that seek to create a Muslim ban, supercharge interior enforcement, coerce local law enforcement to enforce immigration law, and dramatically expand detention.”
According to the proposed budget, the letter asserts, the Trump Administration plans to spend $300 million to recruit additional Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers; $1.5 billion to detain and deport immigrants, including funding for 51,379 detention beds; and $1.6 billion for the wall across the southern United States.
In addition, the Administration plans to 70 new U.S. attorneys at the Department of Justice to prosecute people for immigration-related offenses, which at present comprise 52 percent of federal prosecutions, more than for drugs, weapons, fraud, and other violations combined. New requirements for tax filers to provide a Social Security number to apply for a child tax credit will drive millions of American children into poverty. The Administration also proposes a 30 percent cut in refugee services.
“This is just the beginning,” the letter stated.“Trump can’t implement his agenda to separate families unless Congress appropriates the funding. In this new era, every dollar appropriated for immigration enforcement is a dollar that moves the President closer to his goal of banning, deporting and excluding immigrants in the United States.
The group requested that the Congressman take the following actions:
- Pledge to fight any funding for Trump's Deportation force and increased immigration enforcement
- Commit to meeting with immigrant families and organizations to learn about how raids are impacting our families, neighborhoods and communities;
- Write a letter to Thomas Hodman, Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Acting Newark Field Office Director John Tsoukaris to demand an end to immigration raids.
In response, the Congressman’s spokesperson John Byers issued the following statement, “While he does not agree with every line item in the President's budget, Congressman Lance is committed to securing the border, enforcing our laws and working with the Trump Administration to get this done.
“That's why Rep. Lance voted in favor of a recent spending measure that contained the largest increase in border-security resources in a decade. These federal investments will help law enforcement protect and strengthen our borders and enforce the rule of law -- important steps toward fixing our broken immigration system.”