Politics

Trump-Backers Rally Against Sanctuary Status in New Jersey

Town vote on defying ICE draws large crowd of citizens demanding respect for law

Hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump held a rally in a New Jersey town late Monday afternoon to show their support for the new administration and their opposition to a nearby borough’s consideration of becoming a sanctuary city.

Some Trump supporters ended their rally in nearby Red Bank on the steps of Borough Hall as a committee meeting to discuss the issue was called to order Monday night. They were met by hundreds of Hispanics who have made the borough their home.

“I feel strong that we have to support our president … Although I welcome immigrants who are legal, we have to protect our borders. To be a country, we have to have borders.”

Red Bank, a borough in New Jersey, is the latest to consider sanctuary city status or other protections for undocumented residents. The meeting room, which held 150 people according to police, was packed within minutes. Approximately 500 people were outside and could not gain admittance.

The supporters of sanctuary status in the crowd held signs that read, “Love Trumps Hate,” “We Are All Immigrants,” “No Human Is Illegal,” and “Don’t Tear Families Apart.”

Those rallying for Trump and against Red Bank’s consideration of a sanctuary policy all told LifeZette before the meeting they were in favor of secure borders and Trump’s policies in the first month.

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“I’m here to support our President Trump,” said Ellen Hausmann of Aberdeen. She said she liked that Trump supports all law enforcement officers, veterans, and secure borders. “All the rhetoric and the lies everyone is telling about him … the Democrats are trying to block him. They have to stop whining.” Hausmann said she has been a lifelong Democrat before she voted for Trump and is now switching parties.

“Democrats are putting our country at risk,” said Hausmann. “We need our border protected, and the money spent on illegals should be put towards veterans and our children.”

“I feel strong that we have to support our president,” said Mike Dericks of Bradley Beach. “Although I welcome immigrants who are legal, we have to protect our borders. To be a country, we have to have borders.”

“If you’re going to protect felons in Red Bank, you’re going to pay the price. If you allow illegals in schools, it’s going to increase property taxes,” Dericks said.

For 88-year-old Helen Stanley, of Middletown, joining the rally was about not only showing her support for Trump, but also because she worries about the future for her children, grandchild and her great-grandchild.

“I don’t think we should have any sanctuary cities,” said Stanley, who held up a sign that read, “No Red Bank NJ Sanctuary City.” “I supported Trump 100 percent right from the beginning, and I think Trump has a wonderful agenda.”

Andrew and his brother Sean Stegner of Middletown, New Jersey, were among the Trump supporters. “Ever since the election, we’re huge fans of Trump and all his policies and what he has done in one month. We’re here to support Trump,” said Andrew. He added that Red Bank considering sanctuary policies “is a terrible idea. It will be a detriment to the people, the community, and Monmouth County.”

In Red Bank, the large group of Hispanics outnumbered the Trump supporters by the time the meeting actually commenced. LifeZette tried interviewing numerous people, but many said they did not speak English well.

One young woman, Bernice Luna, 27, of Red Bank, said she is an immigrant and is here under DACA. Her entire family lives here, she said, and she has a daughter in school. “My daughter is so scared. All the kids are talking about Trump at school. She asked me, ‘Do we have to go back to Mexico?'” Luna said she has many friends here who are undocumented.

The crowd was chanting “Se Puede,” meaning, “We Can” and “This is what Red Bank looks like” as some Trump supporters shouted, “Build that wall.”

Some non-Hispanics in the crowd were in favor of protections for the undocumented population.

Jim Keady, of Spring Lake, a former elected official and now with the organization Educating for Justice, said, “We need to reach across the aisle, and be in contact with our Republican friends, and we need Congress to do their job and give us real immigration reform.”

Keady said he would like Republicans to go back to Ronald Reagan, whom he called the “patron of the Right” and said he was the first who said we should have amnesty for undocumented immigrants.

Karen D’Amore, a Red Bank resident for 36 years, said, “I don’t see people living in fear. This country was built on immigration.” As tears filled her eyes, she said, “I feel bad for the children. I feel bad for the parents, too. As long as they’re not doing anything to hurt others, they should be able to stay. They’ve come here to make a better life for themselves.”

Another resident interviewed by phone said he favors sanctuary city status.

“I’m in favor of anything that can get to the heart of the divisiveness we’re getting to in this country,” said Jeff MacPherson, a Red Bank resident for 23 years and a realtor. “I’m a liberal. The president is inspiring divisiveness.”

“The analogy I use is: When a boat is sinking in the Mediterranean with 300 people on board, we say we should save them. We don’t ask who they are,” MacPherson said, adding he is a humanitarian. “I imagine it won’t be popular in Red Bank, people will scream.”

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When asked how Red Bank adopting sanctuary city status would eliminate the divisiveness, he responded, “Any time a group — any group, a municipality, says we’re going to push back on these regulations and protect the people who are here and not enforce unfair regulations, I think that’s a good thing. It’s a good thing for those who are your neighbors.”

Red Bank’s Human Relations Committee, which advises the borough council on diversity issues, voted 5-2 to recommend the borough council approve protections for the undocumented immigrants, according to the investigative reporter Payton Guion of the Asbury Park Press.

Red Bank, New Jersey, has attracted a large number of undocumented immigrants and latest census figures show the town of approximately 12,200 has a 34-percent Hispanic population.

Democratic Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna did not respond to a request for comment by LifeZette, but told the Asbury Park Press this week he likely would not support such a recommendation from the committee.

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