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Local elected officials may not choose which laws to ignore

In case you missed it, I am going to quote the opening statements in an article that appeared in a local newspaper on Feb. 14: “In light of President Trump’s recent crackdown on ‘sanctuary cities,’ the state Senate planned a vote Monday on a bill that would reimburse municipalities if they lose any federal funding because they shield undocumented residents from U.S immigration authorities.”

In the body of the article are references to undocumented residents, but they are actually illegal immigrants. The article implies that the order calls for immigration authorities to round up all illegal immigrants, but, if truth be told, it calls for the rounding up of criminal illegal immigrants.

The author of the bill, state Sen. Stephen Sweeney, has vowed that he would post the bill (S-3007) again when all the Democratic senators are present. “It’ll pass,” he said.

It is hard to imagine that a respected member of our state government is encouraging the boycott of a presidential executive order which mandates that local law enforcement authorities cooperate with federal law enforcement specifically to purge criminal illegal immigrants. One thing is blatantly clear in all of this: the ugly face of anarchy has begun to show itself in New Jersey and it must be stopped.

There has been much caterwauling around our country by local officials to resist the President’s executive order by not allowing law enforcement officers under their purview to cooperate in the enforcement of our immigration laws.

Mentioned in the article were the cities of Jersey City, Newark, East Orange, Maplewood, Princeton, Prospect Park and Union City, and Rutgers University, which have, in some form or another, policies in place that would make their domains sanctuary areas. The Red Bank governing body will be taking a vote on this issue soon.

These domains face the loss of federal funding by refusing to obey federal law. One very important question remains that should concern you, whatever political persuasion you might be: What money would be slated to reimburse these cities for their loss of federal funds? What money would be used to reward them for defying the federal government?

Does (Sweeney) plan to take it from our roads and infrastructure improvement funds? Does he plan to take it from money slated for our already underfunded pension obligations? Does he plan to take it from our Medicaid program and short-change the healthcare needs of many middle class constituents as well as scores of illegal immigrants now benefiting from the program?

Does (Sweeney) plan to take it from our education funding which goes to schools that educate many of the children whose parents are illegal immigrants? Does he plan to take it from the Abbott districts receiving special funding because they have a disproportionate number of low achieving students in our poorest areas?

Actually, this grandiose measure could conceivably hurt the very people Sen. Sweeney is so gratuitously attempting to aid.

We all need to be vocal and to articulate to our local and state authorities, as well as to our respective political party organizations, that we expect our state and local elected officials to obey the law.

Local officials do not have the authority to pick and choose those laws they wish to obey and those they do not, lest they become criminals themselves.

I hope you will call your state assemblymen and senators and ask them to quash this ill-advised piece of legislation with a vocal objection that we can all hear loud and clear, or face the consequences next November.

Rose Ann Scotti is a former mayor of Colts Neck and a former president of the Colts Neck K-8 School District Board of Education.

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