Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.


Our community pillars help us carry out our 100-Year Vision

Check it out

Non-profit Organization

Red Bank River Center

The Red Bank River Center promotes local merchants, recruits new businesses, stages vibrant downtown events, and beautifies our streetscapes.

Learn More
organization-banner
organization-banner

RED BANK: SQUARING OFF OVER IMMIGRATION

rbhrc-022717-15-500x375-1793801Pro-immigrant protesters, above, outnumbered opponents outside borough hall both before and after Monday’s meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_03-220x138-2130637With rallies before and afterward heavily favoring the rights of undocumented residents, Red Bank’s Human Relations Committee voted Monday to oppose “any forced collaboration” between borough police and federal authorities when it comes to enforcing immigration law.

Short of declaring Red Bank a “sanctuary city,” the committee passed, by a 5-2 vote, a resolution that instead calls for town officials to “monitor and challenge” any costs arising from federal efforts to find and deport undocumented aliens.

rb-hrc-022717-6-1-500x375-7856017Brenda Codallos addressing the committee as fellow Brookdale student Javier Veliz awaits his turn at the mic. Below, an unidentified woman barked “build the wall” outside borough hall. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

rb-hrc-022717-3-220x165-7891005Prior to the 6:30 p.m. meeting, several hundred pro-immigrant demonstrators gathered in the borough hall parking lot and chanted “love, not hate, makes America great” as police anticipated the arrival of an unknown number of pro-Trump protestors who had assembled at a supermarket on Route 35 in Middletown.

The two sides briefly faced off just inches apart with dueling chants, as those shouting “build the wall” were vastly outnumbered and nearly surrounded by the pro-immigrant side.

A similar scene played out after the meeting, when the two groups met again in the parking lot amid chanting and flag-waving. Police told redbankgreen that there no reports of violence or intimidation.

In between, the committee took comments from more than two dozen people on a resolution no one in the audience had yet seen. Here’s the document: RBHRC Resolution 022717

Rather than calling for, as previously reported, a “sanctuary city” designation — a loosely defined concept under which municipalities such as Jersey City and Princeton have stated their refusal to participate in amped-up efforts to deport undocumented aliens — the HRC’s proposal would “not in any way be defiant of federal law, so we don’t lose federal funding,” Chairman David Pascale told a standing-room-only crowd.

Under a January 25 executive order, the Trump administration said it would curtail funding to sanctuary cities because of their promises to shield unauthorized immigrants from federal action.

Committee member Sean Di Somma, who voted against the resolution with Mike Clancy, questioned its intent.

“Are we doing something that has a purpose, a tangible purpose?” he asked. Among other things, he said, the resolution appeared to be “telling the [police] chief how to do his job,” a characterization disputed by Pascale and committee member Kate Okeson.

“It would be a resolution of support for everyone who’s marginalized in our town, whether they’re undocumented immigrants” or not, Pascale said. The goal, he said, “is to not have people living in fear, when they go to school, when they go to work, when they’re driving around.”

That fear was often on display as 25 people made their way to the microphone during the public comment period, some of them speaking through tears.

A young woman named Jasmine would didn’t “feel safe” disclosing her address told the committee that she remembered crossing the Mexico-United States border as a six-year-old with her mother and “fearing I was going to die.”

Now, “I want to be a teacher, and I want to teach your kids U.S. history,” she said, turning to face the audience.”We didn’t come here to steal anything from you guys.”

Javier Veliz, a Red Bank Regional graduate and Oakland Street resident, spoke of how his mother, a single parent, struggled to raise him and his brother.

“I don’t like to see her come home, after working a 12-hour shift at B2 Bistro or at New Corner, crying and saying, ‘I’m going to lose my job… Trump said this… I’m going to have a backup plan to leave you money,’ ” he said. “I’m not going to live in this reality. My community is diverse. My community is supportive, and I know that just from being out here.”

Among the three audience members who spoke against the resolution’s passage, Shelly Kennedy of Atlantic Highlands told the committee it was putting “putting the citizens of Red Bank on the hook for millions of dollars” of lost federal funding.

Declaring Red Bank a “sanctuary city,” she said, would also serve as a “beacon” to criminal aliens, and if she was one of them, “I would go there, because I would be able to stay.”

Committee member J.P. Nicolaides interrupted Kennedy, telling her, “OK, your weird scare tactics are freaking me out.”

Andrés Mejer, an immigration lawyer from Long Branch, advised the committee not to “get hung up on terminology” surrounding sanctuary cities.

“Are we as a society going to turn over somebody with a traffic violation for a potential removal?” he asked.

The measure now goes to the borough council for possible action.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank business owner happier than to hear "I saw your ad on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
HEARTY FAREWELL FOR HARDY
RED BANK: Council to honor DPU supervisor Rich Hardy, who retired recently after almost 39 years of keeping things running.
HOMEBOUND? READ ON…
RED BANK: Can't get to the public library? It's now offering free delivery and pickups for homebound borough residents.
TAMING A BEAST OF A WEEK
RED BANK: After the second snowfall of the week, a borough family finds the perfect use for it – a Godzilla snow sculpture.
RED BANK: LIBRARY CLOSED, BUT THE HILL’S OPEN
RED BANK: Though the library was closed by a snowstorm, kids got to enjoy the riverfront property's steep slope Tuesday.
LIGHT(HOUSE) MAKEOVER
This year, getting ready for spring means a midwinter makeover for Strollo's Lighthouse in Red Bank.
TODAY: LOCAL PUPPY COMPETES ON ANIMAL PLANET’S “PUPPY BOWL”
Red Bank’s very own rescue puppy, Biscuit, is set to compete in Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl this Sunday, February 11, at 2 PM. Th ...
WHAT? NO redbankgreen NEWSLETTER?
Apologies to redbankgreen newsletter subscribers: the daily email hasn’t gone out for two days because of technical issues.
RED BANK: TIRED OF SKEETERS?
RED BANK: Tired of mosquito bites every summer? Monmouth County has a free program to help eliminate skeeter breeding grounds.
SEA BRIGHT: POLAR PLUNGE FOR ST. JAMES, OTHERS
Hundreds braved the wind and sea on Sunday at 1PM in support of St. James Elementary School, and other Catholic schools in the area. The eve ...
RED BANK: RBR CLAIMS TITLE
RED BANK: Watch pure joy as the RBR boys basketball team celebrates its first B North championship in 17 years.
RED BANK: FORGET-IT FRIDAY
RED BANK: Train Station can be a lonely place Friday mornings, especially with cold rain in the forecast.
RED BANK: CROONING YOUR LOVE
RED BANK: Imagine a quartet of impeccably dressed gentlemen showing up at your beloved's workplace, singing of your love.
RED BANK: BLACK RIVER ROLLS ON
RED BANK: A 68-year-old rail freight engine can still be counted on to draw a trainspotting fan or two when it rolls through town.
RED BANK: ‘MONDAY SWEAT’ MEETS
RED BANK: Joined by the Hazlet Running Club, members of the Red Bank Run Club met for their "Monday Sweat" at Count Basie Field.
RED BANK: CARD SALE BOOSTS GYM DRIVE
RED BANK: Charter School Foundation offers student-deisgned Valentines cards to help raise funds for a gymnasium.
RED BANK: LOVE IS IN THE… WINDOW
RED BANK: Up next: Valentine's Day, and Partyline finds the Red Bank Chocolate Shoppe getting ready for a surge of love and craving.
CLOSING THE BOOK ON A GREAT CAREER
The Red Bank mayor and council honored with a resolution Linda Hewitt (in red) on her retirement from the Red Bank Public Library at Thursda ...
RED BANK: RAIL COMMUTER’S VIEW
A commuter's view of the Route 35 Cooper's Bridge over the Navesink River, as seen from North Jersey Coast Line train 3320 out of Red Bank F ...
RED BANK: PROMISING PROMS
RED BANK: Prom season approaches, and Lunch Break once again steps up with its 8th annual Prom Giveaway of donated dresses.
RED BANK: DOWN BY THE RIVER
RED BANK: Partyline contributor Karly Swaim captured a gloomy mood in Riverside Gardens Park Wednesday evening.