Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Trump Calls for Sanctuary Cities to Lose Federal Funding

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Trump Calls for Sanctuary Cities to Lose Federal Funding

Article excerpt

In a state with a growing immigrant population, an order by President Trump to eliminate federal grant funds to cities and towns that protect immigrants living in the U.S. without legal authorization is stirring anxiety among residents and officials alike.

"Raising fear in immigrants to the point that they would be unwilling to interact with local law enforcement makes our nation less safe," said Rep Bill Pascrell Jr., D-Paterson.

The executive order, signed Wednesday, is meant to force an end to so-called sanctuary cities, which protect undocumented immigrants by not prosecuting them for violating federal immigration laws.

"Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States," states the executive order.

The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice has been lobbying towns across the state to pass resolutions declaring themselves sanctuary cities and adopting policies to protect immigrants who lack legal authorization who are living in their communities.

Johanna Calle, program coordinator for the organization, said the resolutions were part of larger efforts to get mayors and police chiefs to pass executive orders and adopt regulations that would help those in the country illegally. She said despite Trump's actions on Wednesday, the organization's work will continue.

"We are asking everyone to do whatever is in their power to protect immigrant communities," she said. "A lot of cities, and a lot of mayors and leaders around the country, are finding that at end of day the loss of collaboration from members of immigrant communities is going to cost them more than what is coming from the federal government."

Gayle Kesselman, a Carlstadt resident and former heard of the New Jersey Citizens for Immigration Control, said she was pleased with Wednesday's announcements from the president.

"I support cracking down on sanctuary cities," she said. "The idea that taxpayers have to pay for federal aid to city that harbor illegal immigrants that have committed crimes and felonies, there is no excuse for that. …

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