“No law-abiding resident of this great state should live in fear that a routine traffic stop by local police will result in his or her deportation from this country.” – Attorney General Gurbir Grewal
“Trump’s using scare tactics that are not evidence-based, and it’s wrong.” – Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Donald Trump was a joke until he wasn’t. He has to be stopped. His immigration policies are cruel, and our congress remains mute on immigration reform. In New Jersey our executive branch has recently taken two steps to aid beleaguered immigrants. Our legislature is dragging its heals.
Gov. Murphy in November announced that the state is allocating $2.1 million to groups that provide legal help to undocumented immigrants facing deportation. A few days later Attorney General Gurbir Grewal stood in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty to present a new policy – the Immigrant Trust Directive. It limits circumstances under which local police can ask a person’s status and turn over undocumented immigrants for deportation.
Trump is tearing our nation apart with his “America First” crap. He demands billions of dollars for an ineffective wall. He harms some 800,000 federal workers who rely on their paycheck to meet daily needs. He instills fear in the lives of immigrants. He threatens to close our southern border. He blames Democrats for the death of two children there.
Enough of Trump’s temper tantrums. It is time to take him down. Just a few words from people like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are sufficient for Trump to renege on his promise to accept a “clean” shutdown bill with no funding for his Wall. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised to introduce and pass immediately a “clean” bill. It is unclear if the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will reciprocate. So far Trump threatens to veto such a bill.
If worse comes to worse, the House’s next bill should remove the $1.3 billion for non-wall border security. Government accounting documents show Trump has spent only a fraction of the money allocated by Congress last year for a physical barrier. Prolonging the shutdown will be tough for the federal workers, but Trump must be taught a lesson. As Bruce Springsteen says, there should be “No retreat, baby, no surrender.”
While our NJ executive branch is taking positive steps forward, our legislature is not. There has long been a drumbeat to provide drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants. It culminated to no avail in a Trenton statehouse rally in December. The moderate Democratic Party’s leaders who run the legislature, particularly Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, are determined to stay safely in the political center – especially during the run-up to a legislative election. Safety is not what is needed. It’s guts to do what is right.
Preview image of a migrant viewing the Wall separating San Diego from Mexico. Guillermo Arias/Agence France-Presse