Gov. Phil Murphy delivered his annual budget address and announced his proposed budget, including items that align with the ACLU-NJ’s priorities, and the ACLU-NJ called on the Governor and Legislature to go even further to secure social justice in our state. The ACLU-NJ urges lawmakers to expand on our state’s landmark legal representation program for immigrants in detention, as well as dedicate resources to ensure our state’s new basic standard licenses for all are accessible to all communities, regardless of immigration status or gender identity.
The following can be attributed to ACLU-NJ Senior Staff Attorney Farrin Anello:
“When the state invests in social justice, the returns are exponential for all of us. We’re encouraged by Governor Murphy’s intention to put resources behind the important work of expanding our civil rights – but we also urge him to go even further, particularly in expanding access to counsel for people facing potential deportation.
“New Jersey’s two-year-old program of legal representation for people who are detained and facing deportation is already helping hundreds of families as they fight to stay together. While we are encouraged by Governor Murphy’s ongoing commitment to this program, we call on our state to do more, and strengthen its commitment to this essential program through full funding. In the face of intensifying anti-immigrant rhetoric and federal attacks on immigrant communities, including the threat of militarized immigration enforcement, the Garden State must stand up to guarantee the fundamental right to due process for all. The proposed funding of $3.1 million leaves too many of our neighbors to face the federal deportation machine alone, without the most basic protection of a lawyer standing beside them.
“The ACLU-NJ welcomes the opportunity to work with the Legislature in finalizing the budget that will make for a fairer and more just Garden State.”