State Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack was joined by immigration advocates for a seminar last week to let people know their rights in the event they are pursued by agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“[President Barack] Obama did a lot of good things: he created prosecutorial discretion. If the prosecutor, the government’s attorney, decided that this person is a low priority, we are not going to deport them,” immigration attorney Gustavo Gutierrez said at the North Hudson Islamic Educational Center on Thursday evening.
“We’re gonna close our deportation case, these people will have a permanent EAD, they can stay here – as long as they don’t get into trouble – well that’s gone.”
14 months ago in front of the house of worship, Stack called President Donald Trump’s (R) immigration order “a disgrace,” the next month vowing that Union City police would not participate in ICE raids after he had declared the municipality a sanctuary city.
In front of a small crowd of about 25 people, Stack reaffirmed what he had previously said on the topics of immigration and deportation.
“In Union City, there shouldn’t be any fear because municipal government is welcome to everyone here, I think all of you know that, I know many of you that are in the room,” he said to applause.
“I don’t say it politically, I say this from my heart: this city and this country was built on immigrants who were very fortunate to have you leaving here in Union City, Hudson County. So we want you to know that this city, the board of education, whether it be the housing authority, all of the agencies are always here to help you.”
New Sanctuary Coalition Executive Director Ravi Ragbir, who was controversially arrested by ICE in January, said it was important for residents to know their local places of worship, like the NHIEC, since ICE cannot enter temples, churches, etc. to make arrests.
He also explained that contrary to popular belief, immigration cases typically take years to be resolved in court.
“Everyone has a right to an immigration hearing … But right now, there is so much [sic] cases in the court that it will probably [take] four or five years if you get caught,” Ragbir said.
“You do not need to be afraid any more of being picked up right away.”
Both Gutierrez and Ragbir also encouraged those in attendance to take advantage of municipalities, like Union City, that offer municipal ID programs free of charge.
The seminar took place just a day-and-a-half after ICE arrested two brothers outside of West New York Town Hall.