Toms River votes to back lawsuit against NJ Immigrant Trust rules
TOMS RIVER — During an emotionally charged public meeting, the Township Council made this municipality the latest to officially support a federal lawsuit filed by Ocean County, which calls the state's Immigrant Trust Directive unconstitutional.
Amid a 4-2 vote along party lines on Tuesday, the council adopted the resolution, which also combines opposition to issuing driver’s licenses and college aid for unauthorized immigrants.
Ocean County filed the lawsuit a week ago, challenging legality of the directive issued by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, which limits voluntary assistance between law enforcement officers and federal immigration authorities, including ICE agents.
Toms River Council Republicans Maurice B. "Mo" Hill Jr., Brian Kubiel, Daniel Rodrick and George E. Wittmann Jr. voted for the measure, while Democrats Laurie Huryk and Terrance Turnbach voted against it.
There was one abstention from Councilwoman Maria Maruca, who said she had a direct conflict as she works for the state Motor Vehicle Commission.
About 18 minutes into the open session, initial votes were taken, followed by a string of public comments for about an hour and 40 minutes. The township posted video of the session online.
Turnbach was met with applause when he said he’d asked for the “purely political” resolution to be told off on two separate occasions. Huryk said the resolution is wrong, as she quoted Grewal saying there will be no sanctuary given to criminals.
At one point, around 52 minutes into the meeting, Rodrick got into a brief argument with a resident over the effect of the directive on crimes not being reported.
The woman gave the example of the state's continued missing-child case, Dulce Alavez out of Bridgeton, saying unauthorized immigrants who may have information on her disappearance are unlikely to come forward.
Grewal previously also said such cases are one of the reasons for the Immigrant Trust Directive, in the interest of protecting public safety for all residents.
After a motion to rescind the resolution, which only both Democrats voted for, a final vote was taken.
Chants of "immigrants are welcome here" briefly broke out, and at least one man wouldn’t sit and was removed.
Kubiel hesitated but voted yes as the resolution passed, and the council opted for a five-minute recess before finishing up the evening's public session agenda.
At least 10 other municipalities within Ocean County have shown support for the lawsuit via official resolutions: Jackson, Lavallette, Plumsted, Long Beach, Bay Head, Ocean, Lacey, Barnegat, Stafford and Berkeley, according to Ocean County Assistant Administrator Michael Fiure.
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