Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat, has publicly rejected the idea of relocating migrants from New York City to the Atlantic City International Airport in New Jersey after the Biden administration hinted at the possibility.
During an appearance on News 12, New Jersey, Murphy expressed his belief that it would not be feasible for New Jersey to implement such a program due to the substantial federal support and resources required beyond the state’s capabilities.
Governor Murphy has significantly shifted his stance, which marks a departure from his previous positions. During the 2017 gubernatorial race against Republican Chris Christie, Murphy had contemplated turning New Jersey into a “sanctuary” state for immigrants. He had emphasized his opposition to the rhetoric on illegal immigration from then-President Donald Trump and pledged to be a sanctuary state.
After taking office, Governor Murphy’s Attorney General, Gurbir Grewal, issued directives that restricted local law enforcement’s cooperation with ICE and investigating immigration status unless necessary for an ongoing investigation. Despite his previous stance, Murphy’s current response to the proposed migrant relocation shows hesitance to take on such a responsibility due to resource constraints.
The Mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, was provided with a list of federally operated facilities by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for temporarily relocating asylum seekers. One of the suggested properties happened to be the Atlantic City Airport. However, accommodating a large number of migrants in the city has been a challenging task, leading to tensions between City Hall and the Governor’s Mansion. Both sides have been blaming each other for the crisis.
Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, faced criticism from Mayor Adams over her handling of the situation. Despite New York City filing a lawsuit against upstate counties for illegal housing restrictions on migrants, Hochul firmly decided not to force other parts of the state to shelter migrants against their will.
The suggestion from the Biden administration regarding New Jersey’s assistance with the immigration situation brought Democrats and Republicans in the state together in opposition. Governor Murphy and a Republican leader both stressed the financial burden. They emphasized the need for humane border security measures, despite their differing opinions on how to handle the immigration issue.
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