Undocumented/Unauthorized New Jerseyans Are Last, So They Shall Be First

Undocumented immigrants in New Jersey need to be treated with dignity and respect.  Our broken federal immigration system does not excuse our state from recognizing the gifts of those who live among us and offer themselves to NJ as workers, volunteers, parents and friends.  Children of undocumented immigrants need to be cared for and protected.  Keeping New Jersey immigrant families together should be a central focus of our attention.  My Administration will vigorously advocate that a process be put in place whereby families can contest the deportation of a parent by arguing that breaking families and communities through deportation is damaging our state.  A process will be put in place where the people of the state are invited into this advocacy process, collectively, as well.  Imagine…millions of New Jerseyans arguing with Enforcement and Removal Operations that a particular father shouldn’t be torn away from his family.  

Drivers Licenses should be issued for all adults in NJ, regardless of citizenship or immigration status.  Unregistered people without licenses who are living in New Jersey are driving, out of necessity, and their inability to drive legally leaves them, and the public, at high-level risk.  Let the federal government make immigration decisions, but let’s not let their bad decision-making lead to our roads having unlicensed, uninsured drivers.  We can issue drivers licenses at a state level that don’t expose undocumented persons to the federal government. 

Given the rhetoric of hate being perpetuated by our 45th President it is important that states take a stand in defense of their undocumented residents.  These residents are integrally woven into our lives and to not create sanctuary for them is to create a state of chaos for all of us.  My administration would declare New Jersey a Sanctuary State.



Asylum Seekers, placed in NJ by our federal system, need to be better cared for while detained in our state, and they need to be treated with respect and dignity upon release.  The for-profit detention centers that are financially benefiting by locking up brown and black people from around the world are a scourge on our nation.  Also, asylees under the current administration, even upon winning their cases, are released without a dollar, without a social worker, without a liaison to help them navigate life in New Jersey.  This lack of official transition services puts the asylee, and the community, in an uncomfortable, unwelcoming situation.  This is far from the example we should be setting for one another, the country, and the world. In my Administration the state could work creatively with the federal government to pilot humane housing and welcome programs for asylees that move away from a detention model.  

New Jersey should welcome Global Refugees.  The state needs to immediately reinstate the position of State Refugee Coordinator that was discontinued by Governor Christie.  Only a few hundred refugees are actually coming to New Jersey each year.  The unfair language about refugees ‘flooding our shores’ and the story of the danger they bring is short-sighted and embarrassing.  My Administration would work to put New Jersey among the leaders in refugee resettlement.  

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