During the signing of an executive order making Jersey City a “sanctuary city,” Mayor Steven Fulop swiped at Gov. Chris Christie (R), stating that “political opportunism” played into the governor’s decision to switch stances on immigration.
The 10-page executive order bans Jersey City police from assisting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in detaining immigrants, preventing ICE agents from accessing city property without a warrant, even requiring state and federal authorities to get a formal order or directive to ask someone about their immigration status.
“The cooperation of Jersey City’s immigrant communities is essential to prevent and solve crimes and maintain public order, safety and security in the entire City and is especially critical to the success of community policing which depends on trust with every community,” the order says.
When asked about Christie declaring himself a “willing partner” of President Donald Trump in “enforcing federal law,” Fulop didn’t mince words.
“The governor’s position has evolved in the past six or seven years, how he speaks about immigrants in this country – both documented and undocumented – and I think that’s important to be noted,” the mayor stated.
” … I would point to it a a political opportunism more than it is something that he may believe, based on his history.”
When he was the U.S. Attorney of New Jersey, Christie said “being in this country without proper documentation is not a crime” during an April 2008 Town Hall in Dover, according to The Star-Ledger.
A spokesman for Christie’s office said that Christie’s appearance on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” last night, where he said he’d work with Trump on the issue of illegal immigrants, speaks for itself.
On the same show, Christie said that Trump’s January 25 immigration order, which bars individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the country for 90 days, was unclear and communicated in the wrong way.
The order also says that some of the federal funding for sanctuary cities could be cut off, an issue that Fulop said he is not overly concerned with.
Fulop added that the city “will not be bullied or pushed” after being recognized as “the Golden Door to America” for 200 years when questioned what he thinks about the state Attorney General guidelines regarding indictable crimes.
Specifically, a 2007 order by then-state AG Anne Milgram called for all local police departments to inquire about a person’s immigration status if they are arrested for indictable crimes.
Both Fulop and Public Safety Director James Shea said the order contained guidelines that were not mandatory to follow.
“Our priority is to deliver policing services to the residents and the people of Jersey City,” explained Shea.
“And we do not question anybody about their immigration status because we would never want anyone to be afraid to come to us for help, to be a witness or to try to get help for a family member, because they would be afraid of that resulting in negative sanctions.”
Fulop and Christie have been at odds in the past when it appeared the mayor would be seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination this year, but he instead endorsed Phil Murphy and announced he would be seeking re-election back in September.