By Rumu DasGupta
I am writing in response to a recent Your Turn guest column that was published in this newspaper, “Governor, Attorney General are Promoting Anarchy in N.J.” and in response to a recent news article that was published in this newspaper, “Sheriff Seeks State’s Approval to Continue ICE Agreement.”
It is getting harder and harder for me to recognize this country as the one my husband and I chose to make our home and raise our children in 48 years ago.
We always knew there were pockets of intolerance and bigotry, but we also knew the majority of our compatriots were decent, civil and generous people who did not begrudge the presence of the recently immigrated in their midst. I don’t believe that to be true anymore.
Rose Ann Scotti’s guest column on July 17, 2019, warns of impending anarchy if U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is not given a free hand in deporting those who do not have legal residency. She wants an accounting for her dubious claim that Gov. Phil Murphy is spending taxpayer money to help assimilate immigrants.
Ms. Scotti also demands an “accounting of all our hard-earned tax dollars” that are going into providing legal assistance to the undocumented immigrant. It is worth recounting that the right to due process and equal protection under the law is a constitutional prerogative which the founding fathers ensured for all persons residing within the jurisdiction of the United States, regardless of citizenship status.
Her forewarning about the threat of the undocumented is backed up by Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden’s proposal to push for the continuance of the 287(g) ICE program to ensure that “dangerous, undocumented immigrants are not released from jail in order to maintain the safety of our communities.”
Even though the same news article reports that of the 7,845 inmates who were processed in the Monmouth County jail in 2018, only 40 were found to be undocumented immigrants.
These numbers are consistent with the results of many studies, such as the one done by the conservative Cato Institute, which shows that immigrants, both documented and undocumented, are less likely to commit crime than native-born Americans.
But in the pervading political climate, with instigation from the highest levels of government, the immigrants are demonized as “criminals” simply to justify this administration’s racist, nativist and xenophobic policies and positions.
Along with disparaging the immigrant, a related theme which regularly surfaces these days is the warning about the impending socialist threat. It is a label which makes the blood run cold for many Americans and is a time-tested way to shut off any civil discourse on so many important social issues and their common sense solutions.
There is no argument that New Jersey has one of the highest property taxes in the country and still there isn’t adequate money for taking care of so many essentials.
Gov. Murphy proposed the millionaire’s tax which would have raised taxes by a mere 1.78% for about 37,000 New Jersey millionaire residents, in state and out of state. The increase would have brought in $536 million in state revenues.
Even with that increase, the richest 1%, according to the New Jersey Policy Perspectives, would continue to pay less overall taxes (7.7%) – counting state and local – compared to the poorest New Jersey residents (10.7%).
Yet, Gov. Murphy’s effort to do even the absolute minimum to correct the gross income inequality in the state is labelled socialist; a label threatening enough that even his fellow Democrats have cowardly abandoned this just proposal at bringing about some tax and wealth equity.
And really, anyone so worried about socialism should immediately stand by their convictions and stop receiving Social Security and Medicare. They must build and repair their own roads, and provide for protection themselves from these absolutely pesky immigrants. Because isn’t funding ICE socialist?
Rumu DasGupta is a resident of Freehold Township.