Hazlet committee: Township will never become a sanctuary city

HAZLET – Municipal officials in Hazlet have formally rejected the idea of the municipality becoming a sanctuary city.

During a meeting of the Hazlet Township Committee on April 16, Mayor Scott Aagre, Deputy Mayor Michael Glackin, Committeewoman Tara Corcoran-Clark, Committeeman James McKay and Committeeman Michael Sachs passed a “Resolution Opposing New Jersey Becoming a ‘Sanctuary State’ and Resolving that the Township of Hazlet Shall Never Become a ‘Sanctuary City.’ ”

A sanctuary city has been defined as a location where municipal officials do not cooperate with federal authorities on matters relating to immigration.

According to the committee’s resolution, sanctuary policies are harmful to the health, safety and welfare of residents. The resolution states that sanctuary policies undermine law enforcement, encourage violations of federal immigration laws and jeopardize the receipt of federal funding.

The committee’s passage of the resolution followed the issuance of a directive from New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. The Immigrant Trust Directive was announced in November and became effective on March 15.

The directive provides New Jersey’s law enforcement officers and agencies with the following protocol: Officers cannot stop, question, arrest, search or detain an individual based solely on actual or suspected immigration status; officers cannot ask the immigration status of an individual, unless doing so is necessary to the investigation of a serious offense; and officers cannot participate in civil immigration enforcement operations conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The directive states that law enforcement officers in New Jersey may not provide ICE agents with access to law enforcement resources and officers cannot allow ICE agents to interview an individual who has been arrested on a criminal charge unless that person is advised of his right to have a lawyer.

During the public comment portion of the committee meeting, resident Charles Hoffman asked officials about the nature of resolution.

“Whoever said we were gonna be a sanctuary city?” Hoffman asked.

Sachs and Aagre simultaneously said, “The governor of New Jersey.”

The response prompted Hoffman to ask why the committee opposes the directive.

“Everyone sitting up here, including all of our law enforcement (officers), and (Gov. Phil Murphy) has taken an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States,” Sachs said.

Murphy “is going around the back of (the oath) and saying it’s OK for illegal aliens to live here without coming into the country legally. We are supposed to say OK and just let it go,” Sachs continued.

The governing bodies in Middletown and Freehold Township have passed a similar resolution regarding the Attorney General’s directive, sanctuary cities and Murphy’s view of New Jersey as a sanctuary state.