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Montclair Township Proposes 'Welcoming Community' Instead of 'Sanctuary City' Resolution

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MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair Township is slated to vote on becoming a '"Welcoming Community" instead of a "Sanctuary City." during Tuesday's council meeting.

R-17-024 is a resolution being proposed by the governing body in Montclair. 

This groundbreaking resolution serves a similar purpose to sanctuary city status, many feel, because it reaffirms the township's commitment to equal treatment for all residents regardless of immigration status. However, unlike some other sanctuary city resolutions adopted, the "welcoming city" resolution encourages law enforcement to continue to "uphold the law."

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The resolution states that the township is "acknowledging and reaffirming our commitment to the rights of all persons, regardless of immigration status, it is important to reassure our residents and visitors that the Township of Montclair, through its officials, employees, and uniformed services, presently conducts itself according to the principles of equal, respectful and dignified treatment for all persons, and provides assistance and services to those in need without regard to immigration status."

While the resolution states that it will welcome all people regardless of immigration status, it clearly states that they will not prevent law enforcement from doing their job and upholding the law, stating, "As a matter of policy, recognizing that this Council is prevented by State statute from directly instructing or ordering the Manager or Chief of Police to take any action or to operate the Police Department in a particular manner, the Police Department should continue to follow New Jersey Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive 2007-3 in interactions with federal immigration authorities, refraining from inquiring as to or investigating a person’s immigration status except in the limited circumstances when they are required by law to do so and from acting as an extension of federal immigration enforcement authorities."

Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R-16) has slammed his colleagues and New Jersey cities for what he says is choosing to defy federal law and, in so doing, encouraging illegal immigration.
 
President Donald Trump has also warned cities across the nation of punitive action in the form of withholding of federal funding if they declare themselves sanctuary cities.

“The whole concept of an elected official in the United States of America declaring their local jurisdiction a Sanctuary City is a threat to public safety,” said Ciattarelli, who openly criticized New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for his policy of not alerting ICE when an illegal immigrant in his city is arrested for a serious crime like sexual misconduct, welfare fraud or drunk driving. 

Although stating that he is a supporter of immigration reform, Cittarelli said in an earlier report, “We have reforms in place that work. Those reforms require that local police verify the legal status of anyone charged with a felony or drunk driving.  If the suspect is undocumented, federal authorities are to be informed.  Local law enforcement supports this approach."  

"Given all that is going on with our borders, terrorism and our national security, there is no reason to make matters worse by encouraging illegal immigration by declaring and advertising that your town is Sanctuary City,” he continued.

Montclair officials, in this proposed resolution are, while sending a supportive message to immigrants, they are also sending a supportive message to law enforcement officials to uphold the law, saying, "continue to follow New Jersey Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive 2007-3 in interactions with federal immigration authorities, refraining from inquiring as to or investigating a person’s immigration status except in the limited circumstances when they are required by law to do so and from acting as an extension of federal immigration enforcement authorities."
 
 The resolution is set to be proposed and voted on during Tuesday night's council meeting in Montclair.

The resolution reads as follows:

R‐17‐024 RESOLUTION OF THE GOVERNING BODY OF THE TOWNSHIP OF MONTCLAIR REAFFIRMING MONTCLAIR’S CONTINUING COMMITMENT TO EQUAL, RESPECTFUL AND DIGNIFIED TREATMENT OF ALL PEOPLE REGARDLESS OF THEIR IMMIGRATION STATUS, AND TO REMAINING AN OPEN AND WELCOMING COMMUNITY          

February 21, 2017 WHEREAS, the Township of Montclair has long welcomed and embraced individuals and families of diverse racial, ethnic, religious and national backgrounds, recognizing that these persons are valued members of our community and a source of strength and security for our nation;

and WHEREAS, immigration has been the cornerstone of the development of our region, State and nation throughout our history, and the contributions of immigrants and their descendants living in America have produced immeasurable good for the American people, and have renewed and strengthened the very fabric of our Republic;

and WHEREAS, newly-arrived immigrants bring their professions, their skills, and their enthusiasm to the community, making an immediate positive impact on the economy and the well-being of all Americans;

and WHEREAS, the Township Council and the people of Montclair desire to reaffirm and protect the tradition of welcoming and embracing immigrants who chose to leave their homes for a better life;

and WHEREAS, regardless of our own ethnic, religious or national background, political affiliation or persuasion, we agree and affirm that the decent, respectful and dignified treatment of all people regardless of their immigration status is a moral imperative and a basic human right;

and WHEREAS, the Council acknowledges that we are a nation of laws, and that as elected officials we are bound by oath to uphold the Constitutions and laws of our country, our State and our Township;

and WHEREAS, the Council recognizes and praises the efforts of the Montclair Police Department to build relationships of trust and respect between the Department and the community, and to preserve and enhance these relationships while performing its mission to keep the Township safe and enforce the law;

and WHEREAS, this trust, respect and cooperation between the community and local law enforcement officers is essential to promoting and maintaining public safety, especially in encouraging residents’ willingness to report crimes, and to request assistance from and provide assistance to the police, making the community safer for all of us;

and WHEREAS, in acknowledging and reaffirming our commitment to the rights of all persons, regardless of immigration status, it is important to reassure our residents and visitors that the Township of Montclair, through its officials, employees, and uniformed services, presently conducts itself according to the principles of equal, respectful and dignified treatment for all persons, and provides assistance and services to those in need without regard to immigration status, and has always done so;

now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Montclair, that: The policy of the Township of Montclair shall be to welcome and treat all persons entering or living in our community with the same respect, fairness, and dignity, and to continue providing municipal services and enforcing the law on an equal basis to all people, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or nation of origin or descent, or of federal immigration status;

As a matter of policy, recognizing that this Council is prevented by State statute from directly instructing or ordering the Manager or Chief of Police to take any action or to operate the Police Department in a particular manner, the Police Department should continue to follow New Jersey Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive 2007-3 in interactions with federal immigration authorities, refraining from inquiring as to or investigating a person’s immigration status except in the limited circumstances when they are required by law to do so and from acting as an extension of federal immigration enforcement authorities;

The Township of Montclair welcomes, and urges the federal government to admit, persons and families seeking to reside in this country irrespective of whether they come as refugees, or originate from countries dominated by violence or want, or are adherents of a particular faith;

The Township Council opposes any government registry based on religion or national origin.

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