By Matt Rooney
Governor Phil Murphy and his attorney general, Gurbir Grewal, declared New Jersey a ‘sanctuary state” on November 29, 2018, Save Jerseyans. That means New Jersey’s 36,000 law enforcement officials can no longer freely cooperate with federal authorities to enforce immigration laws or, conversely, use immigration laws to assist with general policing goals (stopping, detaining, or questioning a suspect solely on the basis of suspected OR ACTUAL immigration status). Those federal authorities who are no longer welcome in New Jersey include U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, popularly known as “ICE.”
The economic and moral dimensions of sanctuary statehood get a lot of attention.
What about public safety? New Jersey offers up some significant, recent, chilling examples of illegals committing heinous acts. Because all immigrants are criminals? No! Of course not. Because institutionalized lawlessness allows the few bad apples to operate with impunity.
Let’s talk about MS-13, the notorious gang which originated in Los Angeles but draws most of its membership from individuals of Central American origin. The New Jersey State Commission of Investigation (SCI), and independent criminal justice watchdog group, JUST released a new report (click here to read it) on Wednesday morning outlining the status of MS-13 and its activities in our own state:
“New Jersey has played no small role in this movement, with prominent leaders from Long Branch and Hudson County directing operations along the East Coast. One of those leaders, arrested earlier this year and now awaiting trial in Nassau County, N.Y., had been working to build a more robust drug-distribution network and had personally signed off on planned killings in Maryland and New Jersey, prosecutors allege. The other leader, deported and jailed in El Salvador, used a smuggled cell phone to order that a North Bergen restaurant be shot up because the owner had stopped paying for “protection.” That same leader sanctioned the 2015 execution of a suspected rival gang member in West New York.”
But New Jersey is making progress, per SCI.
What was working? Any honest broker possessing half of a brain could’ve guessed without the benefit of a report, but here it is anyway:
“At the same time, law enforcement officials told the Commission that visible MS-13 activity in New Jersey has waned considerably in the past three years, the result of aggressive prosecutions at the state and federal levels and a close partnership with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).1 Dozens of MS-13 members now sit in prison for crimes that include racketeering, conspiracy and murder. In several communities, law enforcement officials said MS-13, despite its outsized reputation, is less of a concern than other nationally recognized gangs, such as the Bloods and the Crips, and violent neighborhood-based gangs composed mainly of teens.”
What will become of the war on MS-13 now that New Jersey has declared a war on ICE?
ICE has pledged to continue operating in New Jersey with or without the Murphy Administration’s support, but we all know cooperation between law enforcement branches is the key to public safety when combating sophisticated criminal organizations.
The most likely result of sanctuary statehood is more Jose Carranzas, and we all know Phil Murphy’s position on that issue…