Maplewood to vote on remaining ‘welcoming community’

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Tomorrow, Jan. 17, the Maplewood Township Committee will vote on a resolution to express Maplewood’s commitment to equal, respectful and dignified treatment of all people, regardless of their immigration status, and to remain a welcoming community.

At its Dec. 6, 2016, meeting, the committee discussed the merits of becoming a “sanctuary city,” which is a community in which local law enforcement and public officials are directed not to aid federal efforts to find and prosecute undocumented immigrants beyond the scope of state law. Residents and committee members brought up several concerns regarding this, such as the permissible extent of Maplewood’s sovereignty and President-elect Donald Trump’s comments that he would cut off federal funding to all sanctuary cities.

Resolution No. 3-17, however, makes no mention of the township becoming a sanctuary city, instead calling it a “welcoming community,” though the two ideas are nearly identical.

Under this resolution, Maplewood will continue to provide services to all residents, regardless of immigration status; shall refrain from profiling persons based on religion, race, ethnicity, national origin or immigration status; and shall refuse to take part in registering or reporting individuals based on these characteristics.

Additionally, Maplewood’s police will not assist federal law enforcement agencies to track down or identify undocumented immigrants beyond what is required of the town’s police force under New Jersey’s Constitution and other state laws.

“Maplewood has been and will continue to be welcoming and open, embracing individuals of diverse racial, ethnic, religious and national backgrounds, and different ages and sexual orientation,” Mayor Vic DeLuca told the News-Record via email on Jan. 16. “Given the political climate in Washington, it is important for the Township Committee to be very clear about our intentions of upholding constitutional rights and liberties for all. We will not participate in dividing people based on citizenship or immigration status nor will we profile or register people because of where they are from or what they believe.”

The Township Committee meeting will be held at Town Hall, 574 Valley St. in Maplewood, at 7 p.m.