BlueWaveNJ Statement on Montclair Town Council Resolution
On Tuesday night, Montclair's town council passed resolution R-17-024, affirming the township's embrace of diverse individuals and families, as well as Montclair’s policy of enforcing the law equally, regardless of a resident's federal immigration status.
The council urged the Montclair Police Department (MPD) to continue to follow New Jersey law-enforcement rules when dealing with Federal immigration authorities, and, as it has done in the past, to refrain from asking about a person’s immigration status unless required by law to do so.
This resolution falls far short of the protections of immigrants and refugees we would hope to see. BlueWaveNJ Immigration Committee representatives who attended the meeting asked the council to prohibit the Montclair Police Department from sharing data with ICE and to authorize the MPD not to cooperate with Trump-administration immigration enforcement policies. The intent was not only to protect undocumented immigrants in our area who have come here in search of a better life, but also to preserve a strong relationship between their community, law enforcement, and the community of Montclair as a whole.
As was explained at the meeting, however, Montclair's unique structure of governance, unusual for New Jersey, prevents the council from instructing or ordering the Chief of Police to follow its directives. So we thank the council for its commitment to our town's fair treatment of immigrants, and for its stated opposition to any government registry based on religion or country of origin. The council is moving in the right direction by officially proclaiming Montclair's support for its immigrant community and its opposition to Trump-era policies that may damage their livelihoods or even threaten their lives.
Meanwhile, BlueWaveNJ will continue with its concerted push to protect immigrants and refugees from harsh policies imposed by the new administration. Our effort to make Montclair a sanctuary city was just one of the many fronts we're tackling on this battlefield. Members of the Immigration Committee have been hard at work not only in Montclair, but throughout New Jersey. Among their activities:
- Members have distributed "Know Your Rights" palm cards to undocumented workers and students in Teaneck and Bloomfield.
- Along with a representative of the American Friends Service Committee, the committee is looking into holding "Know Your Rights" training sessions for immigrants in safe, private spaces.
- Members have met and discussed partnering with a Bloomfield interfaith coalition working on harboring people in local churches.
- The committee is partnering with "Make the Road New Jersey" on upcoming planned actions at the Elizabeth Detention Center and at Congressman Leonard Lance's (NJ7) office, and will continue to work with "Make the Road" in the months ahead.
- Members visited Bergen County Jail in an effort to understand conditions for detainees, and to consider the idea of pressuring local jails to drop Federal contracts.
- We distributed an additional 350 Know Your Rights palm cards through a network of local restaurant employees and through contacts in three different immigrant communities.