West New York issues statement of support for immigrants, but no new policy

Thanks to Mayor Felix Roque and the West New York Board of Commissioners for taking the time and effort to create a Resolution that affirms their support for the safety and well-being for all members of their community, regardless of their documentation status. I look forward to further steps towards supporting a truly “Fair and Welcoming Community.”

However, the Resolution that was released Thursday, while heartwarming, does not address the question that has been asked at three consecutive Board meetings: Does West New York leadership approve of the County’s 287(g) agreement with ICE?

Rep. Albio Sires has courageously co-sponsored H.R. 1446: No State Resources for Immigration Enforcement (NSRIE) Act, to amend section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to prohibit State and local officers and employees from performing immigration officer functions.

The ranking Democrat of Hudson County is in public support of legislation that would end 287(g). Do Hudson County Mayors, Freeholders, and the County Executive believe Rep. Sires exercised good judgment in support of the bill?

Furthermore, Resolution R-30, “Reaffirming  the Town of West New York’s commitment to providing a Fair and Welcoming Community” does not provide any policy change:

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Mayor and Commissioners of the Town of West New York publicly express by passage of this Resolution that the Town is committed to ensuring that residents and visitors can feel welcome, safe, and able to fully participate in, and contribute positively to, our community’s social and economic life; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mayor and Commissioners of the Town of West New York do hereby encourage all residents of Town of West New York to renew their efforts in reaching out and welcoming all those who live in and visit our great community.

In the words of West New York Municipal Administrator Jamie Cryan:

“It doesn’t really introduce anything groundbreaking or new because the policies that are already in place, and the attitude behind those policies, for the mayor and these commissioners, is to serve everybody.”

West New York resident Alex Sanchez delivered the following statement at the meeting:

Today, I am speaking on behalf of the concerned citizens who are joining me here, to sincerely thank you for taking your time to meet with us during the past month…to talk about accomplishing our shared goals of protecting our immigrant neighbors, their families and our thriving community. We think the meetings have been very constructive in deciding upon a path forward where we can work together and facilitate a compromise.

We are grateful that such a compromise would presumably include the explicit endorsement of the federal House Resolution 1446, co-sponsored by our current Congressman and former mayor of West New York, Representative Albio Sires, which seeks to end the 287(g) program.

We also look forward to discussing the development and implementation of Fair and Welcoming Cities policies here in West New York. A Mayoral Executive Order and a Police Directive to that point would give the force of law to the exemplary practices and procedures that West New York’s outstanding Police Officers already carry out, under Director Antolos’s leadership. This would provide a clear signal to our residents that West New York is a regional and national leader in caring for and protecting its citizens. We want you, Mayor Roque, to be able to present West New York to every other town in Hudson County as a model. Thank you very much for this opportunity to speak with you again.

Those in Hudson County who wish to see an end to local enforcement of the Federal immigration agenda look forward to Resolution R-30 V.2.0, which should be built upon the model resolution developed for Union City by the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. It would include provisions to establish Municipal ID’s, and a Police Directive stating that no officer or employee of the West New York Police Department shall expend any time, funds, or resources on facilitating the enforcement of immigration law, except where state or federal law or regulation or directive or court order shall so require.

Once that is in place, we will know that West New York is fully “committed to ensuring that residents and visitors can feel welcome and safe.”

Steve Ramshur
Founder, Hudson Civic Action

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