A bill awaiting final legislative approval in New Jersey’s Assembly would keep employees of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey from enforcing President Donald Trump’s order to bar residents of six countries from entering the United States.
The Assembly Transportation Committee voted along party lines to advance the measure.
Trump on Monday signed a revised travel ban that temporarily halts entry to the U.S. for people from six Muslim-majority nations who are seeking new visas and suspends the country’s refugee program.
Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro is among the Democrats supporting the state legislation precluding Port Authority personnel from carrying out the directive. Her son is a Marine, and she said she is well aware of the importance of keeping the nation safe.
“We just want to make sure that it’s not a smokescreen to just grab anybody off the airplanes and just be able to remove them just because of where they’re coming from,” said Chaparro, D-Hudson.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Steven Rogers told lawmakers the bill will hinder the ability of law enforcement to protect the state.
“None of us here today want New Jersey to be the place where someone started their journey in our country to unleash hell on our nation because of this bill, and that’s what this bill will do,” said the retired Nutley police detective and former member of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Democrats say the U.S. cannot force the state to use its law-enforcement personnel to enforce federal edicts.
Trump’s new directive aims to address legal issues with the original order, which caused confusion at airports, sparked protests around the country and was ultimately blocked by federal courts.
The revised order is narrower and specifies that a 90-day ban on people from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen does not apply to those who already have valid visas.
The White House also dropped Iraq from the list of banned countries.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.