N.J. county defies Murphy, overwhelmingly passes anti-Sanctuary State question

NEWTON, N.J. – The county-level results against the Murphy Administration took another step on Tuesday when North Jersey’s Sussex County passed a referendum formally opposed Sanctuary Statehood.

Sussex’s referendum grants the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders the ability to use county resources to assist federal immigration authorities, notably ICE.

The final tally county-wide was 22,081 for the measure and only 10,982 opposed.

Tuesday’s vote was the culmination of a contentious process a bitter back-and-forth with Trenton. Republican-strong Sussex and Murphy’s Attorney General Gurbir Grewal – who issued the Sanctuary State directive back in spring 2019 barring local law enforcement from cooperating with ICE – had previously scrapped over the wording of the referendum. An original proposed referendum “direct” the sheriff to act; the new wording adopted Tuesday is permissive.

Sussex isn’t on its own. Three other New Jersey counties – Ocean, Monmouth, and Cape May – are all involved in litigation with the Murphy Administration over the same issue.