Incoming New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said that he plans to create a state agency dedicated to the “defensive protection” of illegal immigrants living in the Garden State. Murphy is a Democrat who served in the Obama administration as U.S. ambassador to Germany after working at the Goldman Sachs investment firm. He said just before taking office on Tuesday that he will create an Office of Immigrant Defensive Protection. Murphy has also vowed to see New Jersey become a so-called sanctuary state if the Obama-era Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy is abolished by the Trump administration. He took office on Tuesday.

During a debate in the midst of the gubernatorial campaign, Murphy told outgoing Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno -- a Republican -- "DREAMers... are every bit as American as my four kids." He went on to say, "We will stand up to this president. If need be, we will be a sanctuary not just city but state. This is America... Mr. President, not in the state of New Jersey."

Earlier, Murphy told the Washington Post that his Office of Immigrant Defensive Protection will  be an agency which immigrants can "call with questions about their status."

"The rumors that swirl around communities are extraordinary, and it’s literally hard to get, particularly if you’re undocumented, the right answer to your question. That’s when people go back into the shadows," Murphy said. He added that he believes the word “sanctuary" has become tainted as a political "buzzword." Murphy prefers to use the term "welcoming." Along those lines, Murphy wants to provide state identification, driver's licenses, and education-related financial aid to illegal immigrants.

On January 9, Murphy tweeted his opinion about President Trump’s decision to terminate Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for thousands of immigrants from El Salvador who have lived in the U.S. for more than a decade as refugees from a series of earthquakes in that country. “Salvadorean immigrants came to New Jersey and the U.S. seeking refuge - they’ve become our friends, neighbors, and colleagues. Ending TPS for Salvadoreans will tear apart families and do nothing to make our communities safer. Save TPS."

Vowing to make New Jersey a “progressive beacon,” Murphy said he favors raising the state minimum wage and legalizing marijuana use. Murphy once compared Trump’s presidency to Adolf Hitler’s Germany, while he also opposes the Republican tax reform bill that Trump signed in December. When asked why has not eschewed his left-wing views since winning the gubernatorial election, Murphy said, "Let me tell you the secret. I believed what I said in the primary."



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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