A number of politicians from Hudson, Union, and Middlesex Counties spoke at a massive rally at Liberty State Park denouncing President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
After congratulating a group of naturalized citizens, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop touted the city’s diversity and commitment to being a sanctuary city.
“When we disagree with this president, they will hear our voice loud and clear,” Fulop said on stage at Liberty State Park.
“I want to say thank you to our city council members that are here as well, for declaring earlier that Jersey City will reinforce its values as a sanctuary city: we will not use our resources to pursue immigration status.”
State Senator Ray Lesniak (D-20), a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, had a message specifically directed at Trump.
“Let me say one thing to Donald Trump: immigrants have been in America for 5, 600 years and when Donald Trump is out of office in four years from now, they’ll still be immigrants in America.”
Additionally, Freeholder Bill O’Dea (D-2) touted One New Jersey, a county program which helps immigrants gain their citizenship, before also taking aim at the Republican president.
“We’re here to support you, we’re here to fight against Donald Trump. Donald Trump’s hero was Ronald Regan. Ronald Regan had a saying ‘tear down the wall!’ We need to send Trump a message: ‘don’t build the wall!’”
Another speaker addressing the hundreds on hand was Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Phil Murphy, who said New Jersey needs “leadership that pushes back every single second” against what’s coming from Washington D.C.
Meanwhile, Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33) praised a federal judge’s decision last week that says Trump’s administration will not be able to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities since it is unconstitutional (h/t New York Times).
Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19), another Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, flat out called Trump’s immigration policies “racist” and “wrong.”
“Trump [immigration] policies are looking for people who don’t look like Donald Trump and that’s racist and that’s wrong. My friends, we need to make sure
The last official to speak for the day, Union County Sheriff Joe Cryan – who is seeking a seat in the state Senate – explained why his department does not work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“We are not building any wall for Donald Trump! Let me tell you something about that, because I do have the privilege of being sheriff in Union County,” he began.
“And in Union County, we do not have 287g and in Union County, our sheriff’s office does not work with ICE because we believe in an America that’s there for everyone!”
287g is an agreement Hudson County has with ICE that allows corrections officers to temporarily be deputized in certain situations.
Despite the controversy, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise says he plans to stick with the program as long as it doesn’t change.
Other speakers on the day included Jersey City Council members Rolando Lavarro, Daniel Rivera and Jermaine Robinson, as well as Assemblywomen Angela McKnight (D-31) and Annette Quijano (D-20).
The May Day rally was organized by labor unions such as 1199SEIU to commemorate International Workers’ Day and were joined by activist groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union.