Murphy’s Sanctuary State Directive Endangers Women & Children

By Dawn Fantasia, Sussex County Freeholder

According to the U.S. Department of State, the United States is a destination country for thousands of men, women, and children trafficked from all areas of the world. These individuals are being introduced into sex trafficking and forced labor, organ trafficking, sex tourism, and child labor.

Individuals often flee to the United States seeking a better life, but through dangerous means, and they are preyed upon and victimized because of the way they are choosing to enter the Country. To compound the matter, there is grave danger from those illegally entering the Country with the specific intent of committing violence and breaking our laws.

Under the direction of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has issued a Directive for state and local law enforcement agencies to, in essence, run interference against a Federal agency and to supersede protocol with a reckless State directive. As such, I am vehemently opposed to the name and the characterization of this Directive as the Immigrant Trust DirectiveThis Directive contains additional language that has little or nothing to do with building trust to encourage cooperation between undocumented immigrants and law enforcement agencies, and Attorney General Grewal’s characterization as such is disingenuous and blatantly false. The specific aspects of the Directive for which I take exception are as follows:

State and local police officers, correctional officers working in state prisons and county jails, and state and county prosecutors:

  • Cannot provide ICE with access to state or local law enforcement resources, including equipment, office space, databases, or property, unless those resources are readily available to the public;

  • The directive prohibits police and correction officers from continuing to hold a detained individual arrested for a minor criminal offense past the time he or she would otherwise be released from custody simply because ICE has submitted an immigration detainer request signed by an ICE officer, and prohibits notification to ICE of such an individual’s upcoming release.

  • With respect to detainees charged with violent or serious offenses – such as murder, rape, arson, assault, bias crimes, and domestic violence offenses – New Jersey law enforcement and correction officials may notify ICE of the detainee’s upcoming release, but may continue to detain the individual only until 11:59 p.m. that day.

Ironically, the Directive is followed by the language below in a thinly-veiled attempt to encourage further interference with the following statement:

“Nothing in the Directive prohibits law enforcement agencies from imposing their own additional restrictions on providing voluntary assistance to federal immigration authorities.”

This Directive absolutely limits the types of voluntary assistance that New Jersey’s 36,000 law enforcement officers may provide to federal immigration authorities, and to encourage further noncooperation at the local level is foolhardy and dangerous. The language above clearly demonstrates that this Directive is masquerading as a means to encourage cooperation of undocumented immigrants with law enforcement agencies.

New Jersey does follow specific laws that grant legal immunity in order to promote and preserve the health, safety, and well-being of our residents, including the following:

  • New Jersey’s Good Samaritan statute ensures that doctors, paramedics, and bystanders are able to, in good faith, provide assistance at the scene of an accident without fear of being subject to legal action. 

  • The Overdose Prevention Act was created to encourage people to contact emergency workers if they believe that someone overdosed on illegal or prescription drugs. An individual who attempts to obtain medical help after experiencing a drug overdose is immune from being arrested, charged, or prosecuted for using the controlled substance.  

  • New Jersey’s Safe Harbor Law is an affirmative defense to prosecution for prostitution should a defendant be a victim of human trafficking, and was forced to commit a prohibited act.

  • The Safe Haven Law is in place to provide a safe means to surrender your healthy newborn without fear of criminal prosecution. 

In sharp contrast, the Immigrant Trust Directive far exceeds the simple protection of immunity from deportation based on immigration status in order to engender trust and promote cooperation between law enforcement agencies and undocumented immigrants. This is a gross mischaracterization of the Directive by the Attorney General. The Directive PROHIBITS state and local agencies from providing notification to ICE and PROHIBITS holding an individual who is alleged to have committed the most egregious of offenses past 11:59 the same day.

In a recent video interview published on nj.com, Attorney General Grewal states, “…and if ICE doesn’t pick them up, that’s on ICE”, further positing that there should be no finger-pointing at state or local agencies if an alleged criminal is released prior to the arrival of ICE on scene.

This is nonsense. The finger is pointed squarely at this reckless Directive; with it, Attorney General Grewal himself has created disingenuous and dangerous conditions.

He continues: “If a judge says they are free to go, who are we to say otherwise, unless we have a federal warrant?”

As reported in this piece by the New Jersey Herald:

A 38-year-old Newton man was arrested in for sexual assault of a minor, and two hours after his release from custody was again arrested after the victim found him hiding in her Newton home.

Fernando Diaz, was arrested three times prior to an indictment charging him with second-degree sexual assault of a victim under the age of 13 while he was 20 years older; third-degree endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct; and three counts of fourth-degree contempt by violating a restraining order.

He was charged with second-degree sexual assault and third-degree endangering and a judge granted a temporary restraining order against Diaz. Diaz spent a night in jail and was released the following day at 2 p.m., police said.

Two hours after his release, Newton patrols responded to the victim's house for a report that Diaz was inside the home, according to an affidavit of arrest.

When patrols arrived, the woman indicated her child, who was the alleged victim, was inside the house and Diaz was in the basement.

After announcing who they were, patrols told Diaz to "stop hiding and come out," before they found him hiding in a shelving unit in the corner of the basement, the affidavit states.

Diaz is being held on an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, detainer by the Department of Homeland Security. The detainer provides ICE agents extra time to determine if the individual should be taken into federal custody and ultimately deported.

We are fortunate that Federal intervention prevailed for the safety and welfare of the victims. And I am frankly disgusted at the willful ignorance displayed by the State for the safety and welfare of our residents, a State which continues to perpetuate this false narrative of trust in relation to criminal offenses committed by undocumented immigrants. As the former Bergen County Prosecutor, Attorney General Grewal took a firm and active stance on combatting the human trafficking crisis, often taking the lead in training sessions and symposiums. So why now would he issue a directive that further endangers those undocumented victims of crime, and endangers the population as a whole by restricting and/or prohibiting cooperation with the very agency dedicated to combatting human trafficking and smuggling?

As outlined by the Department of Homeland Security, ICE's role in combating human trafficking and smuggling is the following:

“ICE works with its law enforcement partners to dismantle the global criminal infrastructure engaged in human smuggling and human trafficking. ICE accomplishes this mission by making full use of its authorities and expertise, stripping away assets and profit incentive, collaborating with U.S. and foreign partners to attack networks worldwide and working in partnership with nongovernmental organizations to identify, rescue and provide assistance to trafficking victims.”

It is my belief that our county and local agencies need to fully cooperate with ICE, so that any undocumented individuals with criminal offenses are deported, and the residents of Sussex County have the right to have a voice on this issue.

The state continues to let the people of Sussex County down. From the shameful display in Vernon Township by the DEP Commissioner McCabe regarding illegal and hazardous dumping in Vernon, to grossly inequitable school funding through the School Funding Reform Act, to the crippling restrictions of the NJ Highlands Act; how many more times will the State of New Jersey turn a blind eye to the safety and welfare of our rural communities?

Was Lonegan’s defeat an inside job?

Well, at least Jay Webber won… and Seth Grossman.

Bob Hugin won’t totally have his way in wrapping the State’s Republican brand in a plain brown paper.  He’s going to have a Reagan conservative and an eccentric libertarian to provide some color to the package – not to mention the incumbents, starting with the staunchly Pro-Life Chris Smith. 

What Hugin won’t have is a genuine Trump-style populist bouncing around in the orchestra, stealing the stage of an election that he plainly believes he is paying for.  Like Grossman, Steve Lonegan is decidedly his own article, but enough in the Trump mold to easily wear the costume.

McCann you say?  The most baldly dishonest campaign in memory will now be set aside, and with it, all the Trumpian rhetoric.  No, John McCann was not endorsed by President Trump, even though his campaign communications led you to believe he was.  More on this later.

It is enough for now to compare the post-truth campaigning style of a certain southern political consultant to the rather insufficient counter-measures of the Lonegan team, whose messaging was done by a consultant shared with the Hugin team.  Although completely false, McCann’s consultant had the discipline to dominate his candidate, confine him to those tasks of which he was capable, and to run the kind of sharp, focused, MESSAGE-driven campaign that we don’t often see here in New Jersey. 

If McCann’s consultant survives the recent raid on his office by the FBI, the inquires by the United States Justice Department and such, he could become a formidable presence on the field in New Jersey.  It takes a certain toughness to come up with a message so at variance with a candidate, to bully the candidate into silence, and then to brazenly run with it to victory.

Unfortunately, now the candidate will think the victory his… he will start to talk again.  Like he did last week when, in an unguarded moment, he let slip his true feelings about abortion (he won’t vote for ANY Pro-Life legislation if elected to Congress) and guns (he opposes the NRA and supports universal background checks).  Did the New Jersey Family Policy Council know this when its (c)4 lobbying arm was induced into doing an openly political mailer that buttered the Pro-Choice candidate but trashed the Pro-Lifer?  Or did they know and did they not care?  More on this later.

Not to worry though.  John McCann has served his purpose.  The candidate with the money lost (and now that candidate is a wounded, angry animal, sitting on a million dollar war chest).  But John McCann is broke.  He has eaten his seed corn.  Don’t look for him to trouble Josh Gottheimer.  And there might even be a reward in it for him.  Another lucrative patronage job perhaps?  He might end up a judge.

So the money that would have been spent in the 5th fighting off the visceral attacks of a Lonegan candidacy will now be heading… where?  Which Democrat will be the beneficiary of yesterday… perhaps they will all share in a piece of it?

Among the other lessons learned…

The party potentates who opened the bottle  of a Tony Ghee candidacy did so before its time.  They gave the newcomer no time to breathe.  It’s a solid vintage that will hopefully be available again.

And speaking of which.  We learn from the former Wally Edge that Peter Murphy is about to assume the throne of the GOP in Passaic County – the place he occupied before a certain United States Attorney, named Chris Christie, sent him away.  It’s a bad business – especially for Bob Hugin, who has made political corruption his ONLY issue.  Lonegan’s polling showed Murphy’s support to be the strongest negative against McCann.  More than 80 percent of Republicans were less likely to vote for a candidate who had his support… that’s REPUBLICANS.  You would have hardly guessed it from Lonegan’s campaign communications, but there you have it.

Surprisingly enough, Lonegan did have coattails of a sort.  In Sussex County, Lonegan-backed challengers to two incumbent Freeholders annihilated the incumbents.  It is the first time in living memory that a ticket with two incumbents was defeated in Sussex County.

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Dawn Fantasia is the principal at a charter school.  Josh Hertzberg is an administrator with the ILA union.  These are what Republican candidates look like in our populist era.  Fantasia supported Senator Steve Oroho’s negotiations over the refinancing of the Transportation Trust Fund.  She learned about it and patiently explained the details to others – and ended up cutting a radio spot to that end. People warned that it would hurt her politically, because the final deal raised the gas tax, while cutting or eliminating a host of taxes (including the estate tax) and providing property tax relief.  Another lesson learned?

John McCann injected himself into the Freeholder race, on behalf of the incumbents, who supported him.  He ran a radio spot that attacked Senator Oroho by name on the gas tax.  Former Congressman Scott Garrett came out in support of the incumbents and ran a robo-call on their behalf.  More lessons?

Lonegan won Sussex County, but by a much smaller margin – about 500 votes.  Why the difference?  Well, in Sussex, the Lonegan freeholder ticket had a strong message that they pursued relentlessly – and were quick and sharp with their counterattacks.  The Lonegan campaign itself lacked this, especially the quick counterpunches.  Fantasia and Hertzberg also had the full attentions of Kelly Hart, who had been “let go” by the Lonegan campaign in April.  She had been field director for Sussex County.

Curiously enough though, when the dust settles after the General Election, the only big changes to the line-up of elected officials in CD05 will be the election of Lonegan’s running mates in Sussex County.  Everyone else… McCann and all his running mates in Bergen and Passaic will have lost.

A few years ago, Ralph Nadar wrote a book called “Unstoppable” – in which he predicted the rise of populist movements on both the Left and the Right in response to the disconnect with the mainstream political parties.  He suggested that Left and Right reformers had much in common and therefore, the basis of a genuine “resistance” movement.

How will this translate with Dr. Murray Sabrin on the Libertarian Party ticket for U.S. Senate is anyone’s guess, but there are Libertarian candidates in Districts 5 and 11, and a Constitution party in District 3.  A Center-Left populist, Wendy Goetz, is also running in the 5th.

And finally, election night parties.  The people you meet at such things are not average Republican voters.  Many earn a living from politics – whether as a lobbyist or a vendor, a job holder or a consultant.  They are in the business of politics – even those that just secure from it a certain status, as a member of a local government perhaps, or a school board.

That is not the case with 99 percent of Republican voters.  All they get out of voting is the idea that they are checking the box for someone who thinks like they do.  Most have a general idea of what the Republican Party stands for and that they stand for that too.  That “general idea” is provided to them, largely, by the mainstream media.  And yes, it includes the points that Republicans are Pro-Life and pro-Second Amendment. 

New Jersey’s Republican political class needs to learn to live with this.  Bring to a close their 40 years war with Reagan and their contempt for our base.  Trying to pretend that you are something else or “a different kind of Republican” is not a message, it is a deflection.  For all his money spent on advertising, Bob Hugin was able to convince just 52 percent of Republicans in Sussex County to vote for him.  He will need to do a great deal better.

Let the political class make its money… but leave average GOP voters someone they can vote for.

Sadly, the party took a step back yesterday.  They took away someone who meant something to a great many average Republicans – and they did so by telling voters that McCann was just a newer Lonegan, only more conservative, and that Donald Trump endorsed him.  We all know that isn’t true. 

And on that note, we begin the General Election.

Franklin Councilwoman explains TTF

Published on behalf of Sussex County Watchdog

In a new radio spot, Franklin Councilwoman Dawn Fantasia explains how New Jersey has failed to pay its way for decades.  Since 1988, the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) has tried to pay for road and bridge maintenance and repair on just 14.5 cents a gallon of gasoline.  New road construction and even public transportation costs come out of that 14.5 cents.  So do the repairs for local roads -- to offset the need for higher property taxes -- all of it has to come out of the same budget.

Other states -- including every neighboring state -- charge 40 or even 50 cents a gallon of gasoline to pay for the upkeep of their transportation infrastructure.  So how has New Jersey done it?  It hasn't.  Instead of pay-as-you-go, it is borrow-until-you-go-broke in New Jersey. 

So now we have borrowed so much that the fund is out of money and it will take the first 10 cents of a proposed per gallon tax on gasoline just to pay the interest on the debt. New Jersey has spent nearly three decades behaving like children with a credit card.  Councilwoman Fantasia makes the point that it is time for our elected officials to start acting like adults, raising the money to pay for road and bridge repairs, paying down the debt, being fiscally responsible.

Click here to listen to Councilwoman Dawn Fantasia