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New Jersey Becomes New Battleground for Immigrant Rights

602737_strong_line.jpgRecently, New Jersey Governor and often-touted possible presidential candidate Chris Christie joined the fight against the President’s immigration executive action. Specifically, Governor Christie, who typically declines to make public statements on his stances on immigration policies, signed an amicus brief that was filed in the federal court case that opposes the President’s executive action.

As discussed in prior posts at https://www.immigrantings.com, the case Texas v. United States represents a group of states’ efforts to prevent the President’s executive action from going into force – specifically the action involving deferred deportation proceedings for hundreds of thousands of undocumented young adult foreign nationals and undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders).

It is unfortunate that Governor Christie has decided to throw his support behind this lawsuit as doing so strongly signals that he would not work to advance comprehensive immigration reform if he were to make it into the White House. However, the good news is that the rest of his state seems to be rallying together to support foreign nationals and their rights.

The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice

New Jersey residents have recently formed a new group called the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ). Composed of religious leaders, community members, and both documented and undocumented foreign nationals, the NJAIJ banded together to launch a campaign called “New Jersey for All.” The purpose of the campaign is to gather support for immigration reform at the local level, such as allowing undocumented foreign nationals to obtain New Jersey driver’s licenses. Members assert that the campaign for driver’s licenses is especially critical because the state is home to the fourth-highest population of undocumented foreign nationals in the country. Without driver’s licenses, these foreign nationals are running the risk of arrest, detention, and eventual deportation every time they attempt to drive to and from work or school.

To drum up support for their campaign, the NJAIJ recently held a rally at the St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral where member Father Kenneth Hallahan spoke to the crowd. Father Hallahn stated that undocumented members of his church admit to staying home instead of attending church services because they are afraid that the police may find them. The NJAIJ wants these foreign nationals to be protected from immigration enforcement intervention at their places of worship.

Call to Action for New Jersey Residents

The NJAIJ advises immigrant rights supporters and activists to get involved at the local level by contacting community and state representatives and explaining to them why they should support the President’s executive action if they do not do so already. Additionally, the NJAIJ also suggests that local communities try to work with their police departments and ask them to refrain from working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The Rant

We at ImmigRantings were disappointed to learn that Governor Christie signed the amicus brief in Texas v. United States – but we were pleased to learn of the new efforts taken up by New Jersey residents to support the rights of foreign nationals in the United States. Continue to check with our blog for the most up to date news on the executive action and all other immigration-related issues.

Additional Blog Posts

What Immigrants Need to Know About the Government Shutdown, ImmigRantings, October 10, 2013
Problems with the H-1B visa: From Work Horse to Show Pony, ImmigRantings, February 13, 2012