NEWTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Voters in Sussex County have taken a stand against Gov. Phil Murphy and his administration’s immigration policy in New Jersey.
With a landslide majority, county residents declared they would support federal immigration officials working in the state.
The ballot question read:
“Should the Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Sussex cooperate with and make reasonably available to United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents the tools, resources, personnel, and real, personal and intellectual property owned by the County, under its direct control.”
That ballot measure passed on Tuesday with 67 percent of voters voting yes to support ICE.
According to the unofficial results from Sussex County, that vote saw 22,081 residents voting in favor of the Public Question 1 and 10,982 voting against it.
Sussex County’s public support of ICE’s efforts to track down individuals in the country illegally now directly challenges New Jersey’s Immigrant Trust Directive. Other counties are currently suing the state, claiming the directive is unconstitutional.
The directive issued last year, which critics have slammed as creating a “sanctuary state” policy, limits law enforcement’s cooperation with ICE.
“The governor is playing politics,” Sussex County Freeholder Director Herb Yardley told the New Jersey Herald. “We know what direction we want to go.”
New Jersey’s attorney general ordered two other counties to end their cooperation agreements with federal immigration authorities in September.
Sheriff’s departments in Cape May and Monmouth counties had been maintaining those agreements to perform immigration functions.
State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal claims those agreements prevent victims from reporting crimes.
Despite the Murphy Administration’s desire to not cooperate with ICE, more and more New Jersey counties are choosing to not cooperate with Gov. Murphy instead.
According to local media outlets, Cape May, Ocean, and Warren Counties, and several municipalities within those areas have all announced their support for the lawsuits against the Immigrant Trust Directive.