N.J. lawmakers advance plan to support ‘sanctuary cities’

New Jersey Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto supports a plan that would give state grants to

New Jersey Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto supports a plan that would give state grants to "sanctuary cities" that lose federal funding due to noncompliance with President Trump's orders on immigration policies. (AP file photo)

Democratic leaders in New Jersey’s legislature are supporting a proposal to provide state grants to “sanctuary cities” that lose federal funds for not complying with President Trump’s executive order to enforce immigration laws.

Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto said Wednesday the 10th Amendment makes it problematic for federal officials to impose their will on states and local governments.

He said it’s important that sanctuary cities get their proper funding.

“This country was built on immigrants, and we need to deal with the people that are here, and we cannot create these barriers,” said Prieto, D-Hudson. “So it’s very important for us to stand up for these individuals.”

But the measure troubles Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean.

“The state stepping in to pick up an individual town’s obligations in this regard I think would be extraordinary expensive to the taxpayers,” said Kean.

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick said he would like to see a compromise that would avoid pitting local officials against the president.

“All of this can be worked out if there is discussion, negotiation, because the goal is to fight terrorism,” Bramnick said. “It’s not to fight immigrants.”

The bill is being fast-tracked for a vote early next week.

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