Fair and Welcoming Communities Coalition of Somerset County

NJ Police Academy Scholarship Program

Attention Somerset County Residents!

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to forge your path to becoming a Police Officer in one of the seven local police departments in Somerset County participating in the Scholarship Program!

To be eligible for the scholarship program you must:

  • be a resident of Somerset County, be no younger than 21 and no older than 35 at the time of applying and
  • have an associate degree or 60 college credits from an accredited college or university or a minimum of 2 years military experience.

Get your application now!  Deadline is January 19, 2024 at 4:30pm. They can be sent to Prosecutor’s Agent Cassandra Cockburn by email, postal mail or in person.

Source: https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/government/affiliated-agencies/prosecutor-s-office/scholarship-program

Please get vaccinated against COVID-19

Everyone 12 or older who lives, works, or studies in New Jersey is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

There are multiple ways to get an appointment including:

  1. Use the NJ Vaccine Appointment Finder to find vaccination locations near you with available appointments.
  2. Visit a megasite for a walk-in vaccination. No appointment needed.
  3. Register with the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System to be notified when an appointment is available to you at vaccine locations that use the State’s Vaccine Scheduling System.
  4. Seniors 65+ can call the senior-specific hotline at 856-249-7007 from 8am to 8pm to schedule dedicated vaccine appointments
  5. Veterans, their spouses, and their caregivers may be eligible for vaccines through the VA. Learn more here.

You can receive the vaccine for free regardless of your immigration status

If you are uninsured, you can still receive a vaccine. The vaccine is free – there is no cost to you. Learn more about insurance coverage for COVID-19 vaccines here. If you are insured, you are encouraged to bring your insurance information so that the site can get reimbursed at no cost to you.

Documentation is not required to be vaccinated. Vaccine sites may request documentation, but you are not required to have it to receive the vaccine and you cannot be denied access to the vaccine for not having ID. Sites will NOT ask for proof of immigration status.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will not conduct enforcement operations at or near vaccine distribution sites or clinics.




Webinar: The Criminalization of Immigration in the US

Join special guests and IRIS as we explore the historical events, laws, and policies that have led to the criminalization of immigration in the US.

We’ll discuss the radicalization of immigrants and the disproportionate detention of immigrants of color.

IRIS Case Manager, Daniela Carranza
IRIS Exec Director, Chris George
Kica Matos, Vera Institute
Attorney General William Tong

The Criminalization 
of Immigration in the US: 
March 31st, 2pm | Zoom

This event is in the past. You can watch a recording of the completed webinar.

Action Alert – Tell Congress to Support the Citizen Act of 2021

On February 18, 2021, Representative Linda Sánchez (D-CA) introduced in the House HR 1177, a bill To provide an earned path to citizenship, to address the root causes of migration and responsibly manage the southern border, and to reform the immigrant visa system, and for other purposes. On February 22, 2021, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced an identical bill in the Senate, S 348.

Text of HR 1177 posted on lindasanchez.house.gov
Text of S 348 posted on menendez.senate.gov
According to the White House Fact Sheet, the U.S. Citizenship Act (USCA) will among other things:

  • Create an earned roadmap to citizenship for undocumented individuals
  • Grow our economy
  • Keep families together
  • Protect workers from exploitation and improve the employment verification process.
  • Supplement existing border resources with technology and infrastructure
  • Manage the border and protect border communities
  • Crack down on criminal organizations
  • Address root causes of migration
  • Replace the term “alien” in the Immigration and Nationality Act with the term “noncitizen.”

A belief in “the inherent worth and dignity of every person” is core to Unitarian Universalism: every person, no exceptions. As religious people, our Principles call us to acknowledge the immigrant experience and to affirm and promote the flourishing of the human family.

We ask you to send an email message to your Congress Person using the link below.

[Note: If you are not in fact a member of the Unitarian Universalist faith you will want to edit the message produced by this automated system before sending it to your senators and congressional representative.]

​​​​​​UUSJ Immigration Action Team

FWCC Joins ACLU NJ Defending the Immigrant Trust Directive

The FWCC joined an ACLU friend-of-the-court brief defending the Immigrant Trust Directive before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. A total of 46 organizations in total joined the brief in support of New Jersey’s immigrant communities. We encourage those interested in supporting this effort to retweet or otherwise publicize this filing.

View ACLU’s tweet about the filing.

View posted information about the brief.

Know your rights at the polls, at protests, and in your communities

We are just days away from this year’s presidential election in which it is very likely the results will be contested and the final results will not be determined on election night. It’s more important than ever that we know what to do to protect our rights at polling locations, at protests, and how to respond to increased police or ICE presence in our communities. We are sharing these resources with you in the hopes that you will share with your networks.

We know that the best way to protect each other is through community organizing. The best community protection is preparation – be sure to connect with your local community organizations and share these resources within your networks.

If you will be voting in person at your polling location on Tuesday, here are resources from ACLU (Source: ACLU Voting Rights)

  • If you are questioned about your political beliefs by anyone you do not need to respond. 
  • If you are in line to vote and polls close, you have a right to stay in line and cast your vote. 
  • If you make a mistake on your ballot, you have the right to request a new one. 
  • If the machines are down at your polling place, you have the right to a paper ballot. 
  • The following hotlines are available for any emergency needs:
    • English: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)
    • Spanish: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-866-839-8682)
    • Arabic: 1-844-YALLA-US (1-844-925-5287)
    • Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, or Vietnamese: 1-888-274-8683 

If you will be participating in protests, here are resources from the National Lawyer’s Guild (NLG) and from New Jersey Consortium for Immigrant Children

  • If you are stopped by a law enforcement officer, always ask: “Am I detained?”
    • If the answer is “Yes” then you have a right to remain silent. 
    • If the answer is “No” then you have a right to leave. 
  • Once you are detained, you have an automatic right to remain silent.
  • While detained, you also have a right to a lawyer.
  • If you are pulled over on your way from a protest, you have a right to refuse a search. However:
    • You may be ordered from your vehicle. 
    • Upon reasonable suspicion, your vehicle may be searched for weapons. 
    • Upon probable cause, your entire vehicle may be seized and searched.

If ICE is at your door or in your community, see our resource page on how to respond. Here are the most important things to remember:

DIRE Handout

The DIRE hotline number is 1-888-DIRE-SOS or 1-888-347-3767. 

MigraWatch Deportation Defense hotline: The deportation defense hotline from United We Dream is 1-844-363-1423 – use it if you witness an I.C.E. Raid or any other immigration activity in your community.

These unprecedented times, with a second wave of the pandemic, an economic downturn, and anti-immigrant national rhetoric, have asked a lot of us, especially those who have lost loved ones due to COVID19. We know this year’s election will look different from years past with a great deal of uncertainty and the likelihood of contested results. At the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, we are checking in with our partners and members to create spaces of support, and we hope you can do the same with your family, friends, and loved ones in the next days and weeks. 

Whatever the outcomes of the election, we will continue fighting for a more fair and welcoming state for everyone who lives here.


New Jersey Alliance For Immigrant Justice 

Maneesha Kelkar, Interim Director

Katy Sastre, Outreach Coordinator

Hera Mir, Communications and Operations Coordinator

Somerset County General Election Guide

[FWCC Somerset received following notice via email on September 22. We are relaying the message in its entirety.]


Clerk Steve Peter Encourages Voters to Carefully Fill Out and Submit Ballots to Ensure Their Vote is Counted.

Post Date: 09/21/2020 11:39 AM

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Somerset County Clerk Steve Peter releases online video and photo tutorials to assist voters participating in the 2020 General Election being held on November 3, 2020. The election will be conducted primarily through Vote by Mail ballots, which will be delivered to every active voter in Somerset County, and the Clerk’s office is working to ensure all voters have the information they need to properly fill out and submit their ballots.

“We want to be sure that every Somerset County voter has the tools they need to participate in this unprecedented election,” said Peter. “These tutorials walk voters through each step of filling out the ballot, ensuring their anonymous vote, and certifying their vote on the envelopes to ensure they are counted.”

The video tutorials feature Peter filling out a sample ballot in both English and Spanish, with subtitles. The photo tutorial is a quick and simple way to click through the process, and see exactly how the ballots should be filled out. 

“Vote by Mail has been used in Somerset County for a long time, but many voters who will be using the process this year are unfamiliar with this kind of ballot,” said Peter. “Every voter deserves to have their ballot counted, and their voice heard. These tutorials are our effort to help voters avoid any technical errors that could delay their vote being counted, or even invalidate their ballot.”

Ballots will be mailed out to every active registered voter in Somerset County from the Clerk’s Office starting the middle of this week through October 5.  If any voter has not received a ballot by October 10, they should call the Clerk’s Office at 908-231-7013 to determine if there is an issue.

Residents can check if they are an active registered voter by visiting the Secretary of State’s site at https://voter.svrs.nj.gov/registration-check or calling the Somerset County Board of Elections at (908) 231-7084. If you discover you are not considered an active voter, you can register online at https://voter.svrs.nj.gov/registration-check or with a paper form available at https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/government/affiliated-agencies/election-board/voter-information

Inactive voters can update their voter registration up to Election Day, November 3, to be eligible to vote with a Vote by Mail ballot. Inactive voters can also visit their assigned polling location on Election Day and vote using a paper provisional ballot. 

Somerset County residents who are registering for the first time must register by October 13 to be eligible to vote in the 2020 General Election. Anyone who does so will be automatically sent a Vote by Mail ballot. 

More information on how Somerset County voters can participate in the 2020 General Election is available at https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/2020general .