Lower Township Mayor Erik Simonsen backed Cape May County Sheriff Robert Nolan’s renewal of a partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in defiance of a state directive barring such renewals without the approval of the state attorney general.
Simonsen, a Republican, is running to oust Assemblymen Matt Milam and Bruce Land in the first legislative district, where Cumberland County GOP Chairman Michael Testa is running for State Sen. Bob Andrzejczak’s seat.
A directive issued in March by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal forbid local law enforcement agencies from entering into or renewing contracts with ICE absent written approval from Grewal’s office or a pressing need caused by a national emergency.
“Like millions of legal immigrants, our elected officials swear an oath to protect the United States Constitution – it is their duty to protect the rights of millions of citizens who make America great,” Simonsen said. “However, under Governor Murphy’s unconstitutional Sanctuary State policies, local police officers and sheriff’s departments are directed to limit their cooperation with ICE. Ultimately, the Sanctuary State policy is placing the families of South Jersey at-risk, and most recently Attorney General Grewal’s directive has caused the death of a young child from South Jersey.”
Nolan renewed an agreement under the 287(g) program for 10 years without consulting the attorney general’s office. The program gives local police the authority to enforce federal immigration law.
At a Lower Township Council meeting Monday evening, Simsonsen and the town’s four other councilmembers voted to support the contract renewal.
“Sheriff Bob Nolan has taken the correct course of action by continuing to enforce the Rule of Law. However, Sheriff Nolan needs a partner in Trenton that will fight against radical policies that shield criminals from ICE officers,” Simonsen said. “That is why it’s time Cape May families vote for myself and my running mate Antwan McClellan for Assembly and Mike Testa for State Senate. Together, we will fight to reverse Governor Murphy’s Sanctuary State policy.”