On Thursday of last week, Mayor Jim Cahill’s office came out with a statement that New Brunswick is decidedly NOT a Sanctuary City. His office went on to further explain that it would comply with federal agencies in their efforts to follow the President’s Executive Order on securing the interior. At the end of the statement there were some niceties about how New Brunswick has been built by immigrants and all people are welcome to be here, but by then, the damage had been done. Mayor Cahill, your refusal to use the word Sanctuary was deeply destructive.
It sounded to me like Mayor Cahill was caving in to the fear of New Brunswick losing federal dollars. The Executive Order of January 25th on Securing the Interior included language that called Sanctuary jurisdictions dangerous to our national security and causing “immeasurable harm.” The Order threatened those cities with the loss of funds.
By contrast, on Friday, in Jersey City, Mayor Steve Fulop announced bold executive action declaring Jersey City a Sanctuary City. With clarity and creativity, Fulop outlined what Sanctuary status will mean. It includes non-compliance with ICE in their work of targeting residents. It includes a commitment to not opening contracts with ICE around 287(g) or any other program. It includes a commitment to sharing with the public, regularly, data on all the incidents of ICE activity in town. Some people say that Sanctuary is too amorphous and ‘has no teeth.’ Fulop’s executive order has teeth.
As a pastor of a church that has suffered the deportation of many members, and one who has tirelessly defended those who were not deported—including offering physical sanctuary for 11 months to 9 individuals at one point—I was deeply disturbed by the action of Mayor Cahill. His refusal to claim the status of Sanctuary will have consequences.
ICE is interested in meeting its quotas. We know, from experience, that ICE is all about meeting quotas by going, firstly, for “low hanging fruit.” Mayor Jim Cahill, by publicly saying he’ll comply with ICE, offered over the city of New Brunswick as a location for fruit-picking. He basically picked the fruit himself, offering over the fruit bowl to ICE. That includes “fruit” with U.S. kids. That includes “fruit” who own businesses in New Brunswick. That includes "fruit" who care for children, "fruit" who assist the elderly, “fruit” who are tuition paying students.
This kind of behavior by a so-called progressive mayor in the HUB City is dangerous. We are living in the first days of a Madman President. We cannot have our elected officials cave on us now.
Mayor Cahill has enjoyed sanctuary in New Brunswick for long enough. Voters should only allow him to continue enjoying sanctuary if he extends that protection to his residents.
The Last Shall Be First, And the First Shall Be Last
Green Party Candidate for Governor