MAPLEWOOD — An Essex County community stopped short of declaring itself a "sanctuary city" at a Township Committee meeting this week.

Maplewood approved a resolution that expresses the township's "commitment to equal, respectful and dignified treatment of all people regardless of their immigration status and to remain a welcoming community," according to the agenda for Tuesday night's meeting.

Two people who commented afterwards lay blame for the need for a resolution at the feet of Donald Trump.

A woman identifying herself only as "Daniela" from the immigrant resource center Wind of the Spirit thanked the committee for passing the resolution.

"It is nice to give people safety and to not feel in fear. Also, for young people like me, I like to see that there is hope in humanity that despite the whole 'Trump thing' we can do better for everyone."

Craig Garcia of New Jersey Working Families said that "since Trump's election, there's been a lot of fear within the immigrant community and policies like this make sure that folks can feel comfortable, welcome and not afraid to report crimes. It's important for people to feel safe in their communities," Garcia said.

Trump during the campaign threatened federal funds for cities that declared themselves so-called "Sanctuary Cities."

Assemblyman Ron Dancer, R-Monmouth, is concerned that  municipal or county jails that are not cooperating with federal ICE officials and refusing to hold illegal immigrants in their lockups may be releasing convicted criminals who may be dangerous. His proposed legislation would prohibit Sanctuary City policies and require that local and county officials fully cooperate with federal immigration and customs enforcement authorities and hold illegal immigrants who have committed crimes until ICE agents can take them into custody.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

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