NEW JERSEY IMMIGRATION COUNCIL
As Republicans in Congress and President Trump continue their assault on immigrant rights and work to reduce legal immigration and acceptance of refugees, New Jersey must take a stand and put measures in place to protect all of its residents. Yesterday, Senator Tom Cotton and Senator David Perdue announced that they want to cut legal immigration in half, as well as prohibiting citizens from bringing their parents and siblings to America, tearing apart families in the process.
It’s clear that they’re still living in a world of “alternative facts.” We know that immigration to the United States produced a net benefit of $50 billion from 1990 to 2010 to the native population, according to a study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The proposed actions by President Trump and Senators Cotton and Perdue hurt both families and the nation at large. Today, I am proposing the creation of an interagency group called the New Jersey Immigration Council to help those most at risk.
The New Jersey Immigration Council (NJIC) would act as an advocate on behalf of New Jersey immigrant families, ensuring they have access to adequate legal representation, equal access to education and healthcare and municipalities aren’t stripped of needed federal funds.
The NJIC would include representatives from the following agencies:
- Attorney General’s Office
- Department of Children and Families
- Department of Education
- Department of Health
- Division of Consumer Affairs
As President Trump and Republicans in Congress make it more difficult to keep immigrant families together, New Jersey will have to assist immigrant families in finding competent and adequate legal representation. The Council will begin by working together with non-profit organizations and legal groups to implement a “Lawyer Surge,” increasing the number of pro bono lawyers available to families facing uncertain immigration situations.
The New Jersey Immigration Council will also act as a resource for immigrant families trying to navigate the complexities of this new immigration landscape, whether it is a family struggling to bring their elderly parents to the United States from overseas or an immigrant college student trying to build a better life here in America. The Council will also work to protect immigrants from scams and fraudulent law firms. Often, immigrants are the targets of incompetent and unethical lawyers, seeking to take advantage of those in desperate situations. The Council will work together with the legislators on legislation to increase penalties for predatory law firms that overcharge and underdeliver.
Republicans are also looking to curtail services for immigrants. The Immigration Council will act to ensure that New Jersey immigrants retain access to critical services like healthcare and education. The Council will serve in a coordinating role, deciphering federal regulations and working with local officials on the ground to figure out how best to protect access to services for immigrants.
Finally, the Trump Administration has declared that they will attempt to threaten cities that decide to become sanctuary cities. The Immigration Council will work in conjunction with the Attorney General to provide technical assistance and protect funding for municipalities, doing any legal work necessary to ensure that New Jersey taxpayers don’t suffer the costs of the federal government’s anti-immigrant policy.