Division in Glen Ridge over Petition

GLEN RIDGE, NJ - A petition signed by over 500 Glen Ridge residents has sparked debate in the Essex County town. The petition calls for a declaration of Glen Ridge a “sanctuary city” for immigrants. The Essex Times found that the borough council is preparing a resolution to provide some protection for undocumented immigrants.

A sanctuary city is a city which permits residence by undocumented immigrants to help them avoid deportation. When a city is declared a sanctuary city, municipal policies include prohibiting police or city employees from questioning people about their immigration status and not cooperating with the national government to enforce immigration law. Approximately 300 U.S. jurisdictions, including cities, counties and states, reportedly have adopted sanctuary policies.

“We have an obligation to help these people”, says Ron Benson, a Glen Ridge resident, “they did nothing wrong and the federal government is after them for no reason”. “If we allow these people to stay in our town, they can only benefit our economy”, says Sharon Johnson, a fellow resident.

Nevertheless, many residents reject the idea that Glen Ridge should protect the right of people who broke the law. “I cannot believe that my town is willing to offer protection to these criminals”, says Peter Rein, a 35 years resident of Glen Ridge, “they should be locked up and deported as soon as possible and never be allowed in our country again”. “The undocumented are the most violent people in modern society”, says Donald Morabito, “if the mayor wants to have more rape cases, more theft, more robberies, then that’s the way to go”.

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