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Letter to the Editor: Welcoming Community Resolution

by: Jim Crawford 

Glen Rock NJ

I just read the June 12, 2017 article entitled “Glen Rock Borough Council Work Session Turns Ugly As Councilman, Mayor Square Off.” In the article you mention a Welcoming Communities resolution. These resolutions are springing up all over the state to clarify and reiterate what many NJ towns like Glen Rock already do: leave enforcing immigration laws to the federal authorities and keep our police working on local issues.

The article incorrectly states that a resolution “would effectively make Glen Rock a safe haven for undocumented immigrants.” This is simply not true – it does not interfere with the federal government coming in and doing customs enforcement. Instead, it endorses the good practices of our police department: that our police do not act as deputized federal immigration agents and that they don’t ask anyone for their immigration status unless they’re required to by state or federal law.  Our borough will not shield those who commit crimes, or who are wanted for crimes elsewhere, but we also want to make sure everyone feels safe going to the police if they’re a victim or witness a crime no matter what their immigration status may be.
Now, if Welcoming Communities resolutions state what the town policy already is, why have them, you may ask. During the recent course of events in the news media where cases have been cropping up with valid visa holders being incorrectly detained under poor conditions, local and documented immigrant workers are afraid to go to the town to request a building permit or anything else for that matter, sometimes not even showing up for work. They don’t want the hassle. So being a “welcoming” community, which we are, means little to these workers if they don’t know it. It is like my wife telling me, “I know that you are a loving father, but how come you never tell the kids?”
My family also has a 40 year old manufacturing business in Hawthorne that faces similar issues with documented workers.  After the financial crises with banks squeezing them now we have this?  We need effective leadership and good business sense at the local level. Welcoming Resolutions are more than welcome to business operators.
Jim Crawford
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