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Even when New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recounts the latest on COVID, he retains the affability of an old-fashioned soft-shoe vaudevillian, replete with his straw hat and self-effacing humor. He slips and slides with such ease that he can hold the spotlight while appearing to be on either side of an issue because what he enjoys must be enjoyed.

It’s not a bad quality for someone seeking re-election and it’s a nice break from former Governor Christie’s World Federation Wrestling approach.

But as we inch closer to the November election, the one issue he will struggle to solve in the tap dance will be New Jersey’s approach to its half-million undocumented immigrants. Tens of thousands of them have been on the front lines of the pandemic, putting their health and that of their families at risk to serve everyone.

Even President Biden, a far more seasoned politician and old-school hoofer himself, is struggling to figure out how to choreograph his response to the immigration problem, as evidenced by his administration’s pirouette last week after the White House has been criticized by fellow Democrats for sticking to President Trump’s. historically low number of refugees allowed admission to the United States

There is perhaps no greater test for a politician who wants to be portrayed as progressive than how to handle the nation’s searing ambivalence on the subject.

This is a delicate political calculation. By speaking out on behalf of undocumented migrants, you could establish your credibility with their family members who are voters, you also run the risk of outraged hundreds of thousands of voters for whom illegal immigration is the problem. determining.

Research on undocumented migrants carried out by the Pew Research Center shows that New Jersey is one of the top states where undocumented immigrants most often settle, making up 5.2% of our population. Yet they make up a much larger percentage of low-wage essential workers caring for older people in congregational settings and as the arms and legs of much of the face-to-face economy.

And contrary to popular belief, undocumented people in New Jersey, like undocumented people living in the other 49 states, pay billions in taxes every year.

In 2017, the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy reported that while undocumented people are at least fifty percent compliant when it comes to filing taxes, one in three actually owned a home here and contributed nearly $12 billion in state and local taxes. More than half a billion of this amount came from undocumented migrants in the Garden State.

“Nationally undocumented immigrants pay an average of about 8% of their income in state and local taxes (this is their effective state and local tax rate),” the ITEP researchers found. . “To put that into perspective, the top 1% of taxpayers pay an average national effective tax rate of just 5.4%.”

In New Jersey, since 2010, undocumented immigrant workers have paid $1.36 billion into the state unemployment insurance fund but have been unable to collect any benefits, according to New Jersey Political Perspective.

In 2017, Mr. Murphy, as a first-time candidate with no previous elective experience, had no clue how best to approach the integration of what is a very dynamic facet of a state whose emigration resulted in the steady loss of representation in Congress.

In the last days of this race, the former Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno attempted to revive his waning campaign by echoing President Trump’s themes of linking undocumented immigrants to violent crime, a claim contrary to the academic research of the subject who finds that the population is less likely to commit such crimes.

Three years later, Trump’s anti-immigrant base, even if the majority does not last. In October, a University of Stockton A poll found that one in three New Jersey adults surveyed thought Trump had done an “excellent” or “good” job in his COVID response, with an additional 11% giving him a “fair” rating.

Yes, it’s true that President-elect Biden won more votes than any president in US history, but President Trump also got the second-highest total ever, adding several million voice to sound sum 2016.

At the end election cycle Trump carried Ocean, Cape May, Salem, Hunterdon, Warren and Sussex counties and added to his 2016 vote totals in Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Gloucester, Hunterdon and Mercer counties.

And what happened in state 2n/a CD, with Trumpian Democrat-turned-Republican Jeff Van Drew winning over brand name Democrat Amy Kennedy, was indicative of the durability of the MAGA base.

During his first term, Governor Murphy danced with President Trump as required during the pandemic, paying lip service to a nonexistent White House jurisdiction with a knee-to-knee photo op while allowing undocumented residents to the state. to obtain state professional licenses in nursing, cosmetology, and counseling.

“New Jersey is stronger when everyone has the opportunity to contribute and everyone has the chance to live their American dream,” said Governor Murphy. “This law sends a simple and powerful message that immigration status can no longer be used as an excuse to discriminate between equally educated, trained and qualified people. As we look to our shared economic future, we must ensure that no one is left behind and that all who put in the effort can succeed.

In January 2020, after the enactment of this measure, praise poured in from the immigrant rights community.

“As an aspiring physician, I have faced obstacles in pursuing a career in medicine due to my immigration status at a time when our state needs us most,” noted Estrella Rivas, youth leader at Make the Road New Jersey and a third-year medical student at Rutgers University. “Today I no longer have to look aside, I can continue my education and be there to help our most vulnerable residents of New Jersey.”

“Today is the culmination of a two-year campaign for access to professional licenses led by immigrants from all walks of life,” said Erika Martinez, organizer of Make the Road New Jerse.there. “Today, as the Trump administration threatens DACA and continues to tear our families apart, we gain the freedom to thrive. With this law, New Jersey becomes the first East Coast state to expand professional licensing to immigrants illegal immigrant.

“This is another step forward for New Jersey and the humane, progressive agenda championed by Governor Murphy,” said Frank Argote-Freyre, president of the Latino Action Network Foundation. “This legislation will economically empower thousands of hard-working immigrants across the state. It will also allow New Jersey to tap into a large, diverse pool of talent not previously available to it. The other benefit is that it will fill critical shortages in many professions. Everybody wins.

In addition to opening professional licenses, Governor Murphy expanded state financial aid to students, regardless of immigration status; limited voluntary cooperation between local law enforcement agencies and federal immigration agencies; signed a law to allow immigrants, regardless of their legal status, to obtain a driver’s license; and filed 11 lawsuits against Trump’s anti-immigrant policies.

But as his re-election campaign began to gear up, immigrant rights groups grew increasingly disenchanted with Governor Murphy, who they say ignored their pleas for the kind of COVID-19 help that the rest of New Jersey’s unemployed received throughout the public health crisis.

“I think there is a political calculation of [Murphy’s] team that they don’t want to talk about immigrants,” said Patricia Campos-Medina, president of LUPE Action, which works to increase the number of Latinas in power. Politics. “I think it’s wrong. It doesn’t bode well for Latinos and immigrant advocates that he refuses to recognize the importance of this community right now.

After the New York State Legislature recently raised taxes for the state’s wealthiest households and created the nation’s first unemployment benefit for undocumented workers with $2.1 billion, the governor Murphy of just $40 million fell flat and was dismissed as “insulting” by immigrant rights advocates.

“It is totally insufficient. It’s insulting to our communities who have racked up thousands of dollars in debt,” Katy Sastre of the Immigrant Alliance for Justice told NJ.com. “It comes down to $96 per person. It won’t even pay a phone bill.

mayor of Parsippany, is here in solidarity with our #Fast4Relief faster and calls @GovMurphy
+ state legislature to provide relief. “When you call them essential workers, you better treat them like essential workers. We have to take care of everyone.

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