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Posted on: September 27, 2017

Passaic County Creates Fair and Welcoming Policy

(Paterson, NJ) – In response to President Trump’s repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and other executive orders that target immigrants, the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders unanimously passed a Fair and Welcoming Policy during its September 26th meeting. This policy prohibits any county employee or agency from requesting verification of citizenship and prohibits any increased scrutiny or conditioning of services based on immigration status. This is the first policy of its kind to be enacted in New Jersey.

The Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders have long supported immigrants and valued their contributions to the community, but now have taken official action to affirm their support.

“Passaic County is an extremely diverse, with different cultures, ethnicities and languages throughout our community,” said Freeholder Assad Akhter. “Our diversity is what makes us strong, and we will not be intimidated by broken policies designed to instill fear in our neighbors.”

Passaic County’s Fair and Welcoming Policy specifically prohibits requesting information about citizenship, bias-based profiling, withholding services based on immigration status.  The county will also begin accepting forms of ID other than a driver’s license, unless otherwise prohibited by Federal or State law, regulation, directive or court order.   

“The repeal of DACA is already having a negative impact on Passaic County. For the first time in over 30 years, our community college has seen a decline in enrollment,” said Freeholder John Bartlett, Esq. “Over 1,000 young adults in Passaic County alone have withdrawn from their college education, and expressed that it is because of fear.”

At the last meeting of the Board of Chosen Freeholders on September 12th, Dr. Steven Rose,  President of the Passaic County Community College, reported that students informed him that they are withdrawing from the college in order to avoid having official documentation of their home address and contact information on record. 

Freeholder Akhter added: “This policy re-affirms anti-discrimination policies and upholds equal protection under the law.  It is the right thing to do.”

Passaic County’s Fair and Welcoming Policy will protect residents from undue profiling, investigation, or conditioning of services. The only exception to Passaic County’s Fair and Welcoming Policy is if an individual is suspected of or has a court order for a major crime. 

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