By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-Ocean) is doing today what New Jersey Republicans NEED to start doing, NOW (!), if they ever want a legislative majority again in our lifetimes, Save Jerseyans: creating a stark contrast between us and the entrenched ruling party.
He’s pushing pending legislation which would, among other changes, direct all New Jersey state and local officials to fully cooperate with federal authorities pertaining to immigration and customs enforcement requests. That includes turning illegal immigrants over to the feds for deportation.
For Dancer and many Americans, the brutal slaying of 32-year-old Kate Steinle in San Francisco this summer was a wake-up call.
“There is no safe sanctuary law in New Jersey and officials who look the other way are negligent in their duty,” the veteran legislator explained in the a statement. “Law enforcement officials take an oath to enforce rules and regulations. The consequences of ignoring illegal immigration can be tragic. Kate Steinle’s killer had no business being in this country. He blatantly flaunted the law without fear of being deported. We cannot tolerate officials adhering to an unspoken code that permits illegal immigrants to remain here once they have been identified. Law enforcement should be upholding our laws, not looking the other way.”
Dancer’s push comes at a time when New Jersey Democrats are pushing for driver’s licenses at the state and county levels despite this vote-buying scheme having been tried – and failed spectacularly – back in 1992 when Jim Florio was governor.
Governor Chris Christie came out swinging against sanctuary cities in his presidential campaign, calling for them to be defunded by the federal government, but sanctuary cities openly operate in Burlington, Essex, Mercer and Middlesex Counties, engaging in the informal practice of not cooperating or outright ignoring requests from the Federal Government’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to detain illegal immigrants.
Some additional details from the bill:
Under Dancer’s legislation (A-4740), a state or local official who fails to cooperate with the ICE with respect to immigration law enforcement will be charged with violation of state law, and will be subject to public officials’ ethics violation with the imposition of fines, penalties and possible imprisonment.
The legislation requires procedures to be implemented that make sure illegal immigrants for whom ICE has issued a detainer request, remain in custody up to 48 hours to allow ICE authorities to take custody.
Authorities may determine under their Priority Enforcement Program that probable cause exits for an illegal immigrant to be detained and, ultimately, deported. Illegal immigrants subject to the ICE Priority Enforcement Program and local law enforcement detainer policy are those convicted of committing a felony; participation in street and organized criminal gang activities; domestic violence; sexual abuse; burglary; unlawful use or possession of firearm; and drug distribution.
Any illegal immigrant engaged in or suspected of terrorism, or who poses a danger to national security would also be subject to the ICE Priority Enforcement Program.”
Will this bill see the light of day in Uncle Vinnie Prieto’s chamber? Of course not.
Is it nevertheless something Republicans can and should argue? And then campaign on? YES. Illegal immigration cost our state’s overburdened taxpayers billions of dollars per year and, as the Kate Steinle tragedy illustrates, places them in mortal danger.
But there’s no need to wait on the Democrats who will never do the right thing. In the interim, as with many things in Trenton, there’s more that Governor Christie can and should do through executive action to help protect his state AND his long-shot chance at a promotion to federal office in 2016. In 2007, when Jon Corzine was still out governor, then-Attorney General Anne Milgram directed New Jersey law enforcement officers to avoid inquiring into immigration statuses of witnesses, or victims, without first ascertaining “good cause” to do so.
Governor Christie should immediately compel his AG’s office issue a memo directing liberating law enforcement by permitting them to comply with federal law. We should also explore every way that the next state budget – and the Guv’s enviable line-item veto power – can be put to use to punish politicians who refuse to follow the law and put the rest of us at risk just to win elections…