Essex County News

Montclair Residents Flood Council Chambers to Demand 'Sanctuary City' Designation

f6a79795645edf4cff44_Sanctuary.jpg
a74ddb002954d448e1cc_IMG_20063.jpg
b954f4cf4eb115ba8efc_Sanctuary2.jpg
e9395c7adc8dc61ac56f_Sanctuary3.jpg
e53ce229b3c8fa180b4f_IMG_20041.jpg
4fe93a53b14afcb711be_IMG_20052.jpg
f6a79795645edf4cff44_Sanctuary.jpg

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair residents packed into Township Council Chambers on Tuesday to demand that leaders make Montclair a Sanctuary City or Sanctuary Township.

Holding signs that read, "Hate Has No Home Here" and "No Human Being is Illegal," nearly a hundred residents raised their voices to the township leaders in support of this designation. 

Sanctuary cities are areas where the local law enforcement do not comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) orders to detain illegal immigrants for 48 hours, in order to cross reference their fingerprints. For those individuals who are determined to be connected to criminal activity, then ICE will decide whether or not to begin deportation. If the person is cleared, then they are to be released. 

Sign Up for E-News

Since the enforcement of the executive order signed by President Donald Trump has begun, lawsuits have been launched by the ACLU and other civil rights activists nationwide, to establish whether detaining immigrants without actual charges is in violation of the U.S. Constitution. 

Residents across Montclair have raised their voices speaking out, by creating online petitions and organizing marches against President Trump’s executive orders authorizing construction of a wall along the Mexican border and a temporary ban on immigration from seven Mid-east countries.

Now residents have a new request of designating Montclair as a sanctuary city. In a movement than began as a few, the public outcry is growing and expanding each day. 

Over the weekend, former Montclair Mayor Jerry Fried, BlueWaveNJ and numerous local leaders, joined together with the Interfaith march in Paterson, where Passaic County leaders signed an order upholding the equal services and rights of all residents. There was also a large demonstration on the corner of Bloomfield Avenue and Church Street on Saturday demanding sanctuary city status for Montclair.

During the Tuesday meeting, individuals and those representing organizations spoke in favor of the sanctuary city determination.

Rev. Ann Ralosky of the First Congregational Church, read a statement on behalf of the Montclair Clergy Association. With others by her side and cheering her on from the crowd, she said, "It's at the core of every faith tradition that the vulnerable and disenfranchised be protected and provided for, especially in these perilous and unstable times." She continued, "We believe that the enduring values of compassion and inclusion, historically exhibited by the Montclair community, will be most meaningful manifested by such action."

Chants broke out intermittently as organizers and speakers addressing the council one-by-one, approached the podium taking turns exhorting the crowd and encouraging township officials to stand united on this issue.

Although supportive of residents' demands, elected leaders were not so quick to jump on the bandwagon and pass a resolution, just yet. Primarily, the item was not on the agenda, but also that, township officials are still researching legal parameters of such a designation.

Fourth Ward Councilor Renee Baskerville thanked residents for showing up and letting their voices be heard. She said, "I introduced a resolution to declare that Montclair will continue to be a fair and welcoming township about a month ago."

Baskerville added that her council colleagues had not yet had an opportunity to review the resolution language prior to Tuesday's meeting.

Despite public outcry nationwide and even in Montclair, many elected leaders and municipalities have been advised by legal council to hesitate on moving forward, at least until they fully understand the ramifications the municipality may face if they defy the president's demands. They need to first research whether or not such a designation would place the township in violation of the Faulkner Act.

Mayor Robert Jackson and Attorney Ira Karasick told the crowd that no enforcement has taken place in Montclair and they do not expect such. Jackson added, "During the last 16 years...not one person from Montclair was referred to the ICE by local police."

President Trump has threatened to punish Sanctuary Cities or municipalities if they shelter immigrants or refuse to assist in enforcing immigration laws for undocumented immigrants living in the country illegally, by pulling the federal dollars.

According to the order it states that, "Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States."  It further admonishes sanctuary cities stating, "These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic."

According to the Associated Press, a small portion of the federal budget which involves grants could be affected. Individual payments for Social Security or healthcare, including Medicare/Medicaid or even the Affordable Care Act cannot be touched by Trump's threat. Nor can school, transportation or affordable housing funds, be touched by his threat, either. However, discretionary grants can be affected in all areas, except for law enforcement purposes. Municipalities receive discretionary grants from the Environmental Protection Agency for sewer and water, grants for first responders or economic stimulus, all of which, can be affected.

After New York, Chicago and Los Angeles became designated as a sanctuary City, a wave of many other municipalities have followed suit, including Newark, Paterson and East Orange.  

Third Ward Councilor Sean Spiller said that he supported the residents' concerns saying, "This is about making a statement."

Details of exactly how defiance of this executive order will affect sanctuary cities, has yet to be released. However, there are certain to be legal challenges ahead, as opposers have already begun citing a 1997 Supreme Court decision that states the federal government cannot force states to uphold federal laws. The decision establishes that the federal government cannot make states "enact or administer a federal regulatory program."

Federal District Court Judge James Robart issued a restraining order in Seattle Friday that blocks Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order banning immigration to the United States of non-U.S. citizens from seven predominantly Muslim nations for a period of  90 days during which time the U.S. would examine and re-tool its vetting procedures for immigration. The White House has issued a statement saying the U.S. Department of Justice would file an emergency appeal.

In the meantime, the Department of Homeland Security suspended its enforcement of the ban as of Saturday.

As of Tuesday, New Jersey lawmakers have devised a plan to provide state aid to sanctuary cities denied federal funds for not to complying with immigration regulations. Sen. Brian Stack, Assemblyman Raj Mukherji and Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro introduced a bill in both houses of the NJ legislature on Tuesday.

The legislation, which is S-3007 in the Senate and A-4590 in the Assembly, would allow any municipality or county that has been denied federal funds to then apply to the state Commissioner of Community Affairs for a "dollar-for-dollar" match to compensate for the withheld federal dollars.  This has yet to be passed through the Senate or Assembly and remains to be seen, whether it will garner needed support to pass.

Baskerville took to social media after the meeting to add that she has been working with groups and individuals to come up with a statement that will have unanimous support of at least four council members, since that number is needed to pass a resolution. 

The next Montclair Township Council meeting is February 21, by which the council leaders express they are hopeful of having the language drafted to pass a resolution.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

SOMA

Maplewood Police Blotter - Three Thefts Reported, Including a Motor Vehicle

April 24, 2018

April 16 - Shoplifting; At approximately 3:15 p.m., officers responded to the 7-11 on Irvington Avenue on a reported shoplifter.  An employee reported that prior to officer’s arrival, a male entered the store, picked up several pieces of candy and then left without paying.

April 16 - Theft from Auto; At approximately 6:15 p.m. an unsecured vehicle parked on Van ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Man Arrested for Package Thefts

April 5 - Shoplifting; At approximately 3:15 p.m. officers responded to the Extra Supermarket on Irvington Ave on a reported shoplifter. Jean Legerme, age 21 of Newark was detained by security for attempting to leave the store without paying for several items. He was arrested, taken into custody and later released after being charged on a summons.

April 5 - Shoplifting; At ...

Sunny Skies for the South Mountain YMCA Healthy Kids Day Celebration

April 24, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The South Mountain YMCA celebrated Healthy Kids Day on Saturday, with lots of sun, activities, and healthy snacks, which were provided by the Stop and Shop of South Orange and Trader Joe's of Millburn,

The afternoon of fun included a climbing wall, an obstacle course, laser tag, bounce houses, and slides.

There was also an opportunity for kids to visit to the ...

41st Annual SOMA Interfaith Holocaust Service and March of Remembrance Held on Sunday

MAPLEWOOD AND SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The 41st Annual SOMA Interfaith Holocaust Service and March of Remembrance was held on Sunday, April 15. The march assembled in Spiotta Park on Maplewood Avenue in Maplewood, and was called to order with the blowing of the shofar.

Local elected officials who attended included Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca, Maplewood Township Committee member Dean Dafis, and ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, April 26, 7:00 PM

Columbia High School Black Box Theatre, Maplewood

Janet Mandel: Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, April 26, 7:00 PM

Columbia High School Black Box Theatre, Maplewood

Janet Mandel: Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Arts & Entertainment

Fri, April 27, 9:00 AM

Westfield

6th Annual Massive Tag Sale to Benefit Furniture ...

Carousel_image_982bc8344531b1a37c85_par_440

Fri, April 27, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Academy Heights Residents: No More Valley Street Development Until Master Plan Approved

April 22, 2018

This past Thursday, April 19th, the South Orange Development Committee considered a presentation from developers regarding the All Star Motors site on Valley Street between 3rd and 4th. The proposal is for a 61 unit dormitory/boarding house for college students, with 175 beds and limited parking on a lot that is partially zoned for two-family residential. About 20 Academy Heights neighbors ...

Gov. Murphy Announces Proposed NJTransit Funding Increase

April 25, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday spread a message of hope regarding future improvements to NJTransit services and infrastructure due to a proposed $242 million increase in funding for NJTransit for the 2019 fiscal year. 

At a press conference held at NJTransit’s Central Maintenance Facility on Doremus Avenue in Newark, Murphy, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, and other ...

Women Need Better Treatment Behind Bars, Lawmakers Say

NEWARK, NJ - Middlesex County Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) held a roundtable discussion Monday with criminal justice reform advocates and formally incarcerated women to discuss legislation Lopez and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle are introducing, modeled after legislation Booker introduced in the Senate, to reform the way women are treated behind ...

Cranford's Kurt Steiner, a Holocaust Survivor, tells Life Story as 106th Birthday Draws Near

April 25, 2018

CRANFORD, NJ – In a quaint white house near the border of Cranford and Garwood, 105-year-old Kurt Steiner sat at his dining room table, surrounded by cabinets that held his collection of Viennese glass and antique Limoge plates. At his table, he had his carefully taped together passport and exit papers from Vienna, Austria, stamped with a large “J” and “Jude,” the ...

Amazon Works to End Stigma of “Free and Reduced” Meals at School

FLORENCE, NJ – There is a widely unknown problem in schools all over America: a stigma among many children who are eligible for free or reduced lunch.

Rather than face the peer pressure of receiving breakfast or lunch through this federal program, many choose to remain hungry.

To help eliminate the practice, Amazon has partnered with Share our Strength’s “No Kid ...

About Your House: Tips on Its History and Care

April 26, 2018

About Your House: Tips on Its History and Care

Saturday May 5, 2018

1:00-3:00

Members of the Maplewood Historic Preservation Commission will be at the Local History Center located in the Maplewood Hilton Library,1688 Springfield Avenue, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 5.

Maplewood residents are encouraged to stop by and learn about the history and architecture ...

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day at South Orange Police Station on April 28

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is on Saturday, April 28, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the South Orange Police Department, 201 South Orange Avenue.

South Orange Police is participating in the DEA's National Prescription Drug Take Back Program. The program aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general ...

Reduce Your Risk for Colorectal Cancer

Morristown Medical Center’s Carol G. Simon Cancer Center presents “Protecting Your Colorectal Health” on Tuesday, May 1, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Morristown Medical Center Health Pavilion, 333 Mount Hope Avenue in Rockaway. Admission is free.

This popular, educational program presents an opportunity to hear up-to-date presentations from leading ...