Highland Park considering becoming a 'sanctuary city'

The following is an excerpt from NJ.com published February 14, 2017.


The Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale, of the Reformed Church of Highland Park, said declaring sanctuary status is more than symbolic but also a way for towns to thwart officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from coming into communities and conducting investigations.

"When ICE is trying to meet their quotas they go for low-hanging fruits," said Kaper-Dale, who is also New Jersey's Green Party gubernatorial candidate. "And you don't want to go to a place where you think local government is going to get in your way."

Kaper-Dale, who has advocated for several years to protect immigrants and helped to resettle refugees in his community, including from Syria, is also calling on officials to go beyond declaring sanctuary status.

He is working with roughly 60 congregations throughout the state to form a volunteer unit called the Deportation and Immigration Response Emergency team (DIRE), which he said would rush to wherever ICE officials were investigating. He said this could be done by local governments agreeing to post real-time alerts whenever ICE officials came into a community.