Freeholder Candidate Heather Darling speaks at Morris County Young Republicans

Heather Darling

MORRIS COUNTY — Freeholder Candidate Heather Darling was a guest speaker at Morris County Young Republicans at their August General Meeting.

Heather Darling spoke on the topic of “Sanctuary or Welcoming” cities becoming an issue in Morris County.

Morris County Young Republican Chairman Joseph Bock, Esq. said, “The Morris County Young Republicans were pleased to host Republican Freeholder Candidate Heather Darling as guest speaker at our recent August Social. Heather, a practicing attorney, provided a thorough overview of recent developments in federal immigration law, including in Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and explained the way that these changes are affecting Morris County and its municipalities. Heather’s ability to articulate these complex legal matters in a cogent and concise manner demonstrated that she will be a very effective County Freeholder.”

“Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act allows for the Department of Homeland Security to train local police to perform the work of immigration agents.  Although without a specific legal definition, a sanctuary city typically limits cooperation with federal immigration enforcement actions.  In other words, these cities are declaring their refusal to comply with constitutional mandates and their governing bodies are violating the oath they took upon entering their respective offices,” said Heather.

“In an effort to deter cities from this practice, in one of his first actions as president, Donald Trump signed an executive order to withhold federal grant money from sanctuary cities which was immediately opposed by many and declared unconstitutional by the Court. The message delivered by the Court then is that avoiding the process of naturalization provided for non-citizens and harboring those here illegally is constitutional while upholding the constitution by preventing this illegal activity is unconstitutional. The battle has waged on since.  The ACLU claims that the term “sanctuary city is a misnomer as there is no 100 percent guarantee that an individual won’t be subject to immigration enforcement and deportation.  For that reason, the term fair and welcoming city is being adopted. A frequently cited reason by groups seeking to promote the idea of sanctuary cities is that they don’t want residents to be afraid of calling or cooperating with police or other city agencies out of fear of deportation,” she continued.

“Since President Donald Trump introduced his legislation, a number of New Jersey towns, three in Morris County, have declared some form of “welcoming or sanctuary” status.  The first was Madison on February 6, 2017, adopting a resolution on being a “welcoming community” to immigrants. Mayor Robert Conley, a Democrat, said Madison has always been a welcoming community,” she said.

Madison’s resolution asserts that “no department, employee or official of the Borough of Madison shall take part in the registration of individuals based on religion, race, ethnicity, national origin or immigration status.”  This same resolution was adopted in Maplewood and introduced in Madison after Conley said he saw it on Facebook.  On February 13, 2017, the legislation was forwarded to all municipalities in Morris County was already listed on the meeting agenda for a then upcoming council meeting in Morristown.

While registered Republicans outnumber Democrats in Madison, 5 of the 6 town council members are Democrats, in addition to Conley, and the resolution was approved in a 5-0 vote, with Councilman Patrick Rowe, a Republican, abstaining because he did not see a purpose to the resolution as it was not changing the way Madison does business.

In addition to failing to uphold the constitution, the Madison Council and Mayor now require borough officials and employees to “monitor any efforts by the federal government to withdraw or withhold federal funding as a result of the borough’s policies to protect and defend the rights and liberties of all its residents and shall take action to protect such funding.

Next, after Madison, to adopt the Fair and Welcoming status was Dover where, on July 11, 2017, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen unanimously adopted a resolution declaring the Town of Dover as a ‘Fair and Welcoming Town.’

Mayor Dodd further declared that he did not wish to place a label on the resolution in order to avoid sanctions in the event that Trump’s or similar legislation became the law.  Further Dodd indicated that the intent of the legislation was to “preserve the rights of all of its residents”, and in so doing, he failed to acknowledge that non-citizens are not necessarily afforded the rights of citizens.

In the case of Morristown, the Mayor and police chief indicated that residents have nothing to fear from them and that they have no intention of enforcing Section 287(g).

On March 8, 2017, the Freeholders were addressed by various representatives regarding immigration policy.  One advocate of welcoming cities indicated that communities will be safer with “the support of local sheriffs, of local police departments, of local municipalities, and of our Morris County freeholders, to ensure that all vulnerable communities are protected and trust the police, and are willing to report crimes.”

She continues “On the other side of the coin, Sheriff Gannon has stated it is wrong for Morris County towns to declare themselves as a place where illegal immigrants can be guaranteed safe harbor from federal law enforcement and that doing so could adversely impact public safety.  Sheriff Gannon also pointed to the unfair tax burden on law abiding citizens from a bill proposed by Democratic legislators in New Jersey to replace funding lost by sanctuary cities in the event that Trump’s order is upheld. Rozella Clyde, a Chatham resident and the Democratic Freeholder candidate, advised the Freeholder Board that Chatham is also considering “welcoming status”. A Madison resident asserted, the Constitution bars the federal government from compelling state and local authorities to enforce federal laws, and from punishing state and local governments that decline to perform federal law enforcement but he conveniently forgot about the illegal status of those sanctuary cities seek to protect. The president of Latino Justice told the freeholders that sanctuary status “increases safety and tolerance for everyone” by fostering trust between immigrants and police but he too forgot the rights of American citizens to be safe in their communities without fear that there are dangerous criminals guilty of much more than immigration violations hiding in these protected areas.”

“On March 28, 2017, at the Morris County Library, Sheriff Gannon vowed to uphold federal law on undocumented immigrants if ordered.  Also present, Just Facts President James D. Agresti cited links between illegal immigration and alleged crime,” said Darling.

She said “The event was well attended by those supporting undocumented immigration, including Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty who posed several questions during the meeting.  Sheriff Gannon indicated that his responsibility as sheriff is to be the protector of ALL the people.  He indicated that when people are arrested for serious crimes, then their citizenship is in scope. If they are determined to be here illegally, in Morris County the prosecutor must be notified, ICE, immigration, must be notified and the judiciary pursuant to directive 2007-3 from the New Jersey attorney general. He further indicated his belief that allowing people to be hidden from view, illegally committing crimes and not cooperating with the federal government, whether they’re from a local municipality or wherever, it’s bad business. Rev. Alison Miller, minister of the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship and a member of the Morris Area Clergy Council cautioned the Sheriff, “you keep responding ‘I’m not intending to apply 287(g) yet. I’d urge you to drop the yet because it’s not been a good thing for this community.” The meeting ended with chants of “no human being is illegal” and the tension was high.”

“In 2011, the Government Accountability Office released a study on approximately 250,000 illegal aliens locked up in our federal, state and local prisons. Those prisoners had been arrested nearly 1.7 million times and committed 3 million offenses, averaging about 7 arrests and 12 offenses each from drug trafficking and sex crimes to kidnapping and murder. A report by the Texas Department of Public Safety indicates that from 2008 to 2014, illegal aliens committed over 600,000 crimes — including nearly 3,000 homicides and almost 8,000 sexual assaults — in Texas alone. Every day, thousands of innocent Americans are victimized by sanctuary policies that allow dangerous predators to roam their cities. Local officials are putting the welfare of criminals who have no right to be in our country above the welfare of their law-abiding citizens,” said Heather.

She continued “It is no coincidence that Mayor Conley, Mayor Dodd and Mayor Dougherty are all Democrats.  My Democrat opponent in the Freeholder race wants to make Morris County a “Fair and Welcoming” community for immigrants. Many believe the intent of sanctuary policies is to increase the number of illegal alien voters.  With the lack of Voter ID laws thanks to liberal judges, Democrats including Trump’s predecessor, know that there is nothing being done to prevent non-citizens from voting in the U.S. In a 2008 survey of 32,800 respondents, 339 identified themselves as non-citizens, and 38 of these non-citizens checked a box that said “I definitely voted” in the 2008 general election or were recorded in the database as voting in that election. At face value, this means that 11.2% of non-citizens voted in the 2008 election.  Applying this 11.2% figure to the Census Bureau’s estimate of 19.4 million adult non-citizens in the U.S., this amounts to 2.2 million non-citizens who voted illegally in the 2008 election. The survey also showed that 81.8% of non-citizen voters reported that they voted for Obama.”

Darling said “These figures are large enough to change meaningful election outcomes. Senate Democrat Al Franken of Minnesota captured a seat with a victory margin of 312 votes and he was the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass Obamacare. During past demonstrations by immigration advocates, organizations such as the DNC, ACORN, Code Pink and others have been observed registering the protesters who were highly suspected of being in the U.S. illegally. A 2013 study published in the journal Demographic Research, compared Census Bureau survey data to the U.S. Office of Immigration Statistics. It was determined that certain major groups of immigrants frequently misrepresent themselves as citizens.  For example, the study found that “the number of naturalized Mexican men with fewer than five years of U.S. residence is nearly 27 times higher” in the Census data than the number recorded by the Office of Immigration Statistics. In other words, only about 4% of Mexican men who claim to be citizens and have been in the United States for less than five years are actually citizens.”

Darling concluded, “Democrats are advocating for sanctuary cities that create safe havens for known criminals. They are victimizing our citizens and enabling illegal aliens to commit thousands of crimes that would not otherwise have occurred in order to get votes and they are violating federal immigration law to do it.”