By Kaity Kline
TRENTON, N.J. – The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are conducting arrests of illegal immigrants in Trenton, causing the city’s citizens to feel on edge.
According to nj.com, four undocumented immigrants from Guatemala were arrested in an ICE raid. All four of the immigrants had criminal backgrounds, and other illegal immigrants found with the original four were not arrested, said the Trentonian.
According to the Trentonian, unannounced ICE raids have been happening in Trenton for years, and Mayor Eric Jackson has condemned the raids. Mayor Jackson does not support ICE conducting raids in Trenton after random illegal immigrants, but he does support it if the undocumented immigrants are involved in criminal activities.
Trenton is considered a “sanctuary city,” and according to nj1015.com it is a locality of municipality that would provide some sort of safety and protection to its immigrant residents. It is “thought of as a place that sets limits or resists cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, but also these locations will provide social, police and fire protection services for immigrants in their community, regardless of whether they are documented or undocumented.”
This means that illegal immigrants are able to use public services without the fear of getting discovered and deported. Jails refuse to give over illegal immigrants to ICE, even when they are supposed to. But this is unable to be enforced federally, so whether deportation happens or not is largely up to individual jails.
Jackson supports labeling Trenton as a sanctuary city. “We will uphold the rights of all citizens of our city. We will be sure to protect and provide equal rights and protection to all folks in this city. I think that is what our moral and clear responsibility is to do,” said Jackson to the Trentonian.
According to the Trentonian, all of Trenton’s city officials are required to provide service without asking about the person’s legality. It is considered confidential information.
In January, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to support immigration enforcement, as well as punishing local governments that do not comply with authorities to turn in illegal immigrants. If cities do not comply, they are threatened with the removal of federal funding to their city.
According to the Washington Post, the executive order “calls for the removal of those who “have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense” or pose a risk to public safety in the judgement of an immigration officer.” This is the reason for the arrest of the four illegal Guatemalan immigrants.
In Trump’s executive order, he defines a sanctuary city as jurisdictions that “willingly refuse to comply” with federal laws governing the communication between local government agencies and national immigration services, said nj.com.
Trump also wrote in the executive order that “Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States. These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our republic.”
But Trenton, as well as other sanctuary cities in New Jersey such as Newark, Jersey City, and Princeton will continue to provide a safe haven to all immigrants and are not planning on listening to federal orders to turn in these immigrants, despite the executive order.