Sussex County Sheriff’s Office

Sussex County Sheriff’s Office
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Sheriff’s OfficeNews Room

Sheriff Strada seeks guidance from attorney general on Gov. Murphy’s sanctuary state scheme

  • Posted: May 24, 2019

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, Sussex County Sheriff Mike Strada laid out his opposition to Governor Phil Murphy’s sanctuary state scheme and to his administration’s attempt to deprive the voters of Sussex County with an opportunity to have a voice in the matter. Sheriff Strada wrote:

In response to a growing outcry of concern from their constituents, on April 10, 2019, the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders—the legislative body that represents the people of Sussex County, New Jersey—passed a resolution to place a non-binding public question on the ballot in the county that asks voters to instruct their sheriff on the sanctuary state directive issued by Governor Murphy’s attorney general. The ballot question gives voters a choice to instruct their county sheriff to (1) obey the state directive or (2) follow the laws passed by the Congress of the United States of America, signed by successive presidents of both parties, and upheld by the United States Supreme Court.

On May 17, 2019, the Murphy administration—through Attorney General Gurbir Grewal—sent notice to Sussex County Clerk Jeff Parrott that the public question “must not be included” on the ballot in November. It is my understanding that this violates the New Jersey Constitution, which specifically placed elected CONSTITUTIONAL officers (such as the sheriff and county clerk) outside the control of the executive. But more importantly, it is hypocritical to block American citizens from indicating their preference to have their elected officials follow the laws of the United States of America, in favor of compelling them to follow the directives of an appointed state official who is in violation of those laws.

Sheriff Strada was clear in his determination to fight the Murphy administration on the sanctuary state issue:

On behalf of myself and several members of the freeholder board, I am requesting your guidance in this matter. As the chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America, I believe that law enforcement in New Jersey should be following the federal government in matters of a federal nature. Protecting the borders of the United States, as well as immigration and citizenship (and the criminal laws governing same), are federal matters and not the purview of the states. After all, we are Americans first and foremost, and not the citizens of 50 individual nation-states.

For my part, I will continue to fight the Murphy administration on its sanctuary state scheme. I believe it will lead to an expansion of modern slavery—human trafficking and the exploitation of women and children—and of the criminal importation of illegal firearms, narcotics, and opioids. The sanctuary state idea will lead to legal anarchy as well as aiding organized crime and terrorism. It is nothing more than a dangerous and illogical fashion statement.

Sheriff Strada was joined by Assemblyman Parker Space (R-24), who lambasted Governor Murphy for his “bullying tactics.” Assemblyman Space said: “On the one hand, Murphy is extending the rights of illegals every week and going further by backing up those so-called rights with taxpayer money and new spending. On the other hand, he is taking away the right to vote from American citizens who live in Sussex County. It is ridiculous and I oppose it.”

Freeholder Dawn Fantasia had this to say: “The immigration crisis has led to unprecedented abuse of women and children. The sheriff is right and the people should have the opportunity to vote to ignore a reckless state directive.”

Earlier, Freeholder Josh Hertzberg, who began his career as a federal border officer, said the voter initiative was giving the voters the chance of “asking our politicians to follow the law.”

Sheriff Mike Strada is in his third term as sheriff of Sussex County. He is a career law enforcement officer who served as a U.S. Army platoon leader in Iraq (Desert Storm). He is married with three children.

A charge is an accusation and all defendants are presumed innocent until or unless proven guilty. If you have any questions regarding anything published herein, please contact the Public Information Office at 973.579.0865, ext. 2010.


Sheriff Michael Strada