WAYNE, NJ - The New Jersey Organization For Economic Growth rejects the proposal by Gov. Phil Murphy to create a program to use taxpayer money to provide legal help to illegal immigrants and says it will mount a citizens petition campaign to oppose the governor's plan.

The new governor wants to create yet another agency -- the Office of Immigrant Protection. It would fall within the Department of Law and Public Safety and it would provide legal representation to illegals.

"It is a slap in the face of law abiding, hard working men and women in New Jersey - many of whom cannot afford legal services for themselves -- to be forced to fund a government agency that gives free legal aid to non citizens," said Joseph Caruso, the NJOEG chairman.

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"The governor is pandering to the extreme element in his party that want to not only to make New Jersey a sanctuary state, but to give illegals driver's licenses and free legal aid so they can fight federal immigration laws. This is beyond absurd," added Alex Cucciniello the Executive Director of OEG.

According to the Federation for American Immigration reform, 372,000 people live in New Jersey illegally and they cost state taxpayers in excess of $2.1 billion dollars annually for health, schooling and incarceration services.

"Spending taxpayer money to help people who entered our country illegally to further evade the law is the wrong priority for New Jersey," added Caruso. "The state is beset with many problems: high taxes, unmanageable public sector pension and benefits costs, the overregulation of businesses and the flight of talented Millennials. The administration should be focusing on those core issues."

Caruso noted that the Murphy administration's free legal aid proposal for people who entered the country illegally is a slap in the face for the state's struggling legal residents.

More than 10.4 percent of the state's residents, over 915,000 people currently live below the poverty line, according to talkpoverty.org and the U.S. Census Bureau. Over 5 percent of our citizens are unemployed and more startling, 11.1 percent of the state’s population suffered from hunger and food insecurity at some point during the year.

"The governor should be focusing on addressing the problems that already exist in New Jersey - he shouldn't be creating new ones," added Cucciniello.

"The governor wants to make New Jersey a sanctuary state, give illegal immigrants driver's licenses and free legal counseling. The consequences of those initiatives will be to make New Jersey a magnet for many more illegal immigrants.

"And who will bear the cost of the governor's absurd plans? The hardworking legal residents of this state, that's who," added Cucciniello.

Chairman Caruso announced that since the Murphy Administration intends to proceed with this insane agenda on tax payer funded programs for illegal aliens, the OEG will immediately begin a petition drive show Gov. Murphy and his administration that they are out of step with the rest of the state.

"We cannot allow the governor to fundamentally change the character and quality of life in our state without a response. We will seek the signatures of 915,000 New Jerseyans -- the same number of people that live below the poverty line -- to make it clear where the people of this state stand on this issue, I will fight for all of our citizens, especially those less fortunate, those living below the poverty line" said Caruso.

Those who wish to assist NJOEG in volunteering for the petition drive can email the organization at info@njoeg.com. Those who can make a financial contribution to the effort please visit the NJOEG website at www.njoeg.com.