Fantasia and Inganamort introduce bills to address open border crisis

Fantasia and Inganamort introduce bills to address open border crisis

TRENTON, N.J. – The video and image went viral. Two New York City police officers were attacked by a migrant mob near Times Square on Jan. 27. Then the smug look of one alleged attacker as he flips his middle finger to cameras after being released without bail. Demands for all seven men to be deported were met by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul with an almost-dismissive, “that should be looked at.”

Only a little more than an hour’s drive away, two New Jersey lawmakers are raising the alarm.

Assemblywoman Dawn Fantasia and Assemblyman Michael Inganamort recently introduced a series of bills that would address the crisis to protect New Jersey citizens from the violence and anarchy erupting along the southern border and across sanctuary states.

“The story out of New York angered me. But reading the story of Laken Riley this past weekend outraged me, and should outrage every parent, every grandparent, every man and woman who believes in law and order,” Fantasia (R-Sussex) said. “One editorial put it this way: she is dead because America failed to protect her.”

Laken, a 22-year-old nursing student at the University of Georgia, was murdered while jogging on campus last Thursday. Her remains were found an hour after a friend reported her missing. A Venezuelan man named José Antonio Ibarra, 26, here illegally, was arrested and charged with her murder. His brother, Diego, also here illegally, reportedly possessed a fake green card and worked at the university.

Previously, federal agents in El Paso, Texas, sometime in 2022 stopped but released Ibarra. He was arrested and again released without bail at least twice in New York City before fleeing to Georgia and staying with his brother.

“The open border and sanctuary city policies that are causing chaos in New York can easily spill into New Jersey. We need to get serious about preventing this,” Assemblyman Michael Inganamort (R-Sussex) said.

Since Joe Biden took office in January 2021, there have been nearly 9 million illegal border crossings according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. That is more than 5-1/2 times the population of Philadelphia; 1.2 million more than currently reside in New York City; and a greater population than reside in 36 states.

“The Biden Administration’s disinterest in even a semblance of border security is irresponsible to the extreme and an embarrassing display of the federal government’s paralysis,” added Inganamort, a member of the Assembly Oversight, Reform & Federal Relations Committee. “Our dysfunctional immigration system is putting American families at risk.”

(Click here for a high-resolution photo)

New Jersey became a sanctuary state in 2018, ending any cooperation between the state and federal governments to enforce existing immigration laws. According to the American Immigration Council, there are at least 478,000 undocumented immigrants living in New Jersey.

Fantasia, who was on the county commissioner board at the time, was instrumental in the fight to protect Sussex County from the overreach of the sanctuary state mandate, harshly criticizing the policy and leading the charge for a public ballot question against compliance. The 2019 measure overwhelmingly passed.

Fantasia and Inganamort’s six-bill package tackles the issue at multiple levels. Municipalities would be forbidden from becoming sanctuary cities and make it an ethics violation for state and local employees to defy federal immigration enforcement requests (A159). The state could not use funds to aid illegal immigrants facing detention or deportation (A224), and would prohibit releasing them from correctional facilities, instead requiring they be remanded to federal immigration officials (A3841). The state Attorney General would need to repeal and amend directives that prevent local law enforcement from cooperating with federal agents (AR113).

Recently, the Star-Ledger endorsed a national E-Verify to ensure that employers hire properly documented employees and punish those who illegally hire those ineligible to work in this country.  The editorial noted that New Jersey was not one of the 22 states that have an E-Verify mandate.  Fantasia and Inganamort introduced legislation to mandate it in New Jersey (A164).

“We are calling on President Biden and Congress to enact immigration policies that better serve our national interests (AR104),” Fantasia said. “If they were upholding the laws they swore to, we wouldn’t need to introduce such measures, and a beautiful, promising young nursing student would still be alive today.”