Newark — Phil Murphy, Democratic candidate for governor, today announced that, as governor, he would create an Office of Immigrant Protection to provide legal services to any New Jersey resident — including Green Card holders and refugees — facing detention and potential deportation and whose rights are being denied by federal overreach, including President Trump’s executive order, and who cannot afford legal representation.
Murphy also called on the New Jersey Attorney General to join the 16 other state Attorneys General — including those from New York and Pennsylvania — who yesterday announced their coordinated efforts to fight Trump’s order.
“One of the hallmarks of our legal system is the right to representation,” said Murphy. “This right is especially precious to those who look to America as a place of freedom, refuge, and opportunity. The attorneys who have camped out at our region’s airports, donating their time to help those trying to legally enter our country, have heroically given of their time. But we should not have to rely on good will at a time of constitutional crisis.”
The office would be made part of the state Department of Law & Public Safety.
Murphy, having served as United States Ambassador to Germany under President Obama, has a deep understanding of, and experience in, balancing basic human rights with the need for ensuring the nation’s security. As ambassador, he oversaw efforts to screen individuals and provide visas, among other entry requests from one of Europe’s busiest centers.
On a conference call late this morning with more than 60 leaders of the state’s Muslim community to discuss strategy to protect the freedom of residents, Murphy committed to reversing Governor Christie’s decision to refuse state Department of Human Services assistance in the coordination of services to refugee families already present in New Jersey.
“Our Muslim communities are an integral and vital thread in the fabric of our state, and we must ensure they are treated fairly,” said Murphy. “Together, we can fight back against the Trump administration’s unconstitutional actions, protect our residents, and send a strong message that our nation will never renege on its promise of welcoming those in search of a better life.”