In an attempt to defend the city’s policies that protect undocumented immigrants, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka referred to Attorney General William Barr´s assertion about sanctuary cities as hate speech.
In a statement, Baraka called the latest move divisive and disputed Barr’s claim that “sanctuary cities” protect criminals living in the country illegally. The statement was issued one day after the Trump administration announced U.S border federal agents will be deployed to cities across the country where local jurisdictions are obstructing immigration enforcement policies.
The Mayor stated that “the language used by the Attorney General is divisive. It provokes fear and incites hatred, the very two destructive emotions we want to negate in our approach to ‘A Fair and Welcoming City,” the name of my executive order.”
He refused the idea of criminalizing santuary cities under the assumption that they jeopardize public´s safety.
“Attorney General Barr accused us of ‘jeopardizing the public’s safety by putting the interest of criminal aliens before those of law-abiding citizens.’ “This is simply not true. There is absolutely no sanctuary in this city for dangerous criminals, for that would be a betrayal of my personal values and the promise I made to all residents to keep Newark a safer city by building trust in our police.
According to the reelected Mayor, the President’s plan compromises community trust.
“The Trump Administration plan to bolster ICE enforcement forces with tactical units will undermine our efforts to build community trust,” Baraka said.“When (Barr) says sanctuary is ‘misguided ideology triumphing over common sense law enforcement,’ he undermines the common decency aspects of our policy.”
Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement(ICE) Director Matthew Albence justifies the use of additional forces in “sancuary cities” because he considers that people without legal authorization to be in the country are being released from local jails in those cities and counties before his agents can take them into custody.
ICE then is urged to make “at large arrests” of these immigrants who have been released, Albence said.
According to the New York Times, Newark was one of the cities where the agents would be deployed, in addition to New York City and Chicago.
In 2017, Baraka signed an executive order to protect undocumented people in Newark which pledged no local resources would aid federal immigration law unless required by a court order. It also barred municipal employees from investigating a resident’s citizenship status.
In addition, all Newark residents can get municipal ID cards which guarantee access to state and city services.
“Our policy protects undocumented victims,” Baraka said in the statement. “This population is prey for criminals and we want them to feel safe and comfortable in the care of our police. Our efforts to have good community relations and build trust with all our residents, must include the undocumented population, otherwise it is incomplete.”