The West New York Board of Commissioners passed a measure reaffirming a “fair and welcoming community” at last night’s meeting.
The resolution called for “reaffirming the Town of West New York’s commitment to providing a fair and welcoming community,” with Mayor Felix Roque and the other four commissioners explaining why they felt it was time to put such a measure on the books.
“We have a lot of people that have to leave their country to seek a better life and this is what people come to America for – ‘cuz they want to have the opportunities a lot of us have had,” Roque said.
“We are blessed to be in such a great country and I just wanted to welcome those people that are here in this country, whether they’re legal or illegal, it doesn’t matter to us as public officials, we care and we take care of them like a big family.”
Cosmo Cirillo, the commissioner of the Department of Public Affairs, indicated that more municipal legislation could follow.
“I appreciate the dialogue that started because of this, I look forward to continuing that and supporting this resolution … to me it’s all about service to our residents and making sure they receive the best service possible – regardless of their [immigration] status.”
The resolution passed unanimously (5-0), prompting applause from the crowd.
The local legislation came before the board after two consecutive meetings where several members of the public called on West New York officials to take a stance on 287g, a country agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that allows corrections officers to become deputized under certain circumstances.
During the public portion of the meeting, Hudson County View questioned how the language of the resolution differed from a sanctuary city executive order that was signed in communities such as Jersey City and Union City.
“What’s the difference between this and any sort of sanctuary city resolution in Jersey City or Union City? Is it the same thing? Are there any notable differences? What exactly does the resolution say?,” this reporter asked.
“The resolution basically reiterates the very positive atmosphere, to protect all residents regardless of [immigration] status, that the mayor and the board of commissioners have set in place,” answered West New York Municipal Administrator Jamie Cryan.
“It doesn’t really introduce anything groundbreaking or new because the policies that are already in place, and the attitude behind those policies, for the mayor and these commissioners, is to serve everybody.”
When asked a follow up if the resolution included any language that specifically mentions that the local police department will not aid ICE in any raids or other law enforcement actions, Cryan explained why such a provision wasn’t necessary.
“Well ICE is independent, they’re a federal agency. Our police do an incredible job and they have enough to handle on their own,” he said.
“So, the mayor, the commissioners, have made it clear that they want to do everything possible to protect West New York and West New York residents and worry about what they’re mandated to do – not what’s beyond their scope.”
As only Hudson County View reported, State Senator (D-33) and Union City Mayor has already vowed that city police will not participate in any ICE raids.
A copy of the resolution can be read here.