Montclair Resolution Would Commit To Continuing As a “Welcoming Community”

On the agenda for Tuesday night’s Montclair council meeting is this resolution in response to discussions of Montclair becoming a Sanctuary City.

1. Resolution of the Governing Body of the Township of Montclair reaffirming Montclair’s continuing commitment to equal, respectful and dignified treatment of all people regardless of their immigration status and to remaining an open and welcoming community (R_17_024)

In the proposed resolution, Montclair uses the words “welcoming community,” rather than following South Orange in using the term “Sanctuary City.”

Read the resolution and tell us what you think.

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  1. It’s all very nice, until one comes to the penultimate paragraph of the Resolution:

    “the Police Department should continue to follow New Jersey Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive 2007-3 in interactions with federal immigration authorities, refraining from inquiring as to or investigating a person’s immigration status except in the limited circumstances when they are required by law to do so and from acting as an extension of federal immigration enforcement authorities.”

    What does this mean? Reference is made to the Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Directive 2007-3, which itself in relevant part reads:

    “While enforcement of immigration laws is primarily a federal responsibility, State, county, and local law enforcement agencies necessarily and appropriately should inquire about a person’s immigration status under certain circumstances. Specifically, after an individual has been arrested for a serious violation of State criminal law, the individual’s immigration status is relevant …”

    and provides further that “1. When a local, county, or State law enforcement officer makes an arrest for any indictable crime, or for driving while intoxicated, the arresting officer or a designated officer, as part of the booking process, shall inquire about the arrestee’s citizenship, nationality and immigration status. If the officer has reason to believe that the person may not be lawfully present in the United States, the officer shall notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).”

    Unless I’m missing something, the Council’s impending Resolution and the interpretive text to which it refers the reader seem at cross-purposes.

    My question is whether the planned resolution is actually designed to accomplish some purpose, i.e., to actually make Montclair into what is ordinarily thought of as a “Sanctuary” or whether its chief intent is to make its readers “feel good” while requiring nothing to be done. What does this Resolution actually do to make the lives of our undocumented friends, neighbors and families more peaceful and more secure?

  2. Bill,

    The resolution, as currently drafted, is a “feel good” gesture, nothing more. It will in no way make our undocumented friends and families “more safe.” The Montclair Police Department is not in the business of immigration enforcement. As before, the MPD will be guided by the Essex prosecutor’s office. Standard operating procedure.

    The resolution is really a collective protest statement against Trump, which is fine, and an opportunity for local officials to bolster their progressive credentials as they audition for the likes of Phil Murphy and Leroy Jones.

    The immigration debate will ultimately be decided by federal court judges, not Trump and not municipalities.

  3. As politically adept a move that provides moral support — yet avoids being on the wrong side of federal law as one could devise. Bravo.

    However, the disappointed advocate’s whine and clarion calls of: “this is not enough” soon to follow.

    The show continues Tuesday night…standing room politics only.

  4. The text doesn’t seem confusing.

    In the event of a “serious” crime, immigration status is going to be an issue, for a variety of reasons.
    For things like rolling a stop sign, or simply asking authorities for assistance, it isn’t.

    The latter is the courtesy extended to avoid sending undocumented people into the system for minor offenses – hence the “sanctuary” granted.

    This is, generally, how a “Sanctuary City” like NYC operates as well.

    The label the town adopts is nearly meaningless from a legal perspective because “sanctuary city” isn’t a legal construct.

    You can call the town a “welcoming community”, or “Barbara Stanwyck”, and still have the same policies if you adopted the label of a so-called sanctuary city.

  5. Can we add this to the first sentence:

    ….regardless of immigration status, UNLESS THEY HAVE BEEN CONVICTED OF A FELONY.

    That is who they are rounding up, people with criminal history. Why would we want to provide sanctuary to these people?

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