TRENTON — Gov. Phil Murphy today reaffirmed his commitment to helping undocumented immigrants get legal status and protection, announcing that New Jersey will join 15 other states in an already-filed lawsuit challenging federal changes to the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals program.

Murphy made the announcement at a Statehouse ceremony where he and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal helped administer the oath to Parthiv Patel, an undocumented immigrant from Mount Laurel who became perhaps the first DACA recipient admitted to practice law in New Jersey.

“We are making it clear to our dreamers that the road forward for them exists here in New Jersey and that we are stronger and fairer when we work as one extended family,” Murphy said.

“With this oath today, we make it clear that New Jersey stands by our immigrant families. Not just our immigrant families. We stand by everybody in this state, all law-abiding residents in the state of New Jersey,” Murphy said.

Murphy and Grewal said New Jersey will join 15 other states and Washington, D.C., in their federal lawsuit filed last October challenging the Trump administration for ending the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals program

“We will use all of the tools of the Attorney General’s Office to protect the rights of dreamers like Parthiv to enjoy that American dream and to ensure the safety and well-being of all New Jerseyans regardless of their immigration status,” Grewal said.

“Being part of this lawsuit … is long overdue,” Murphy said. “But it proves that starting today, New Jersey will have the backs of our 22,000 dreamers.”

Murphy said joining the lawsuit is substantive, not symbolic, and that other moves will follow.

“I’ll give you one specific example. We are intent and we will establish the Office of Immigrant Protection and Defense. And we’re just trying to get that finalized and the leadership of that,” said Murphy.

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