N.J. Governor-Elect Pushes for First Sikh State Attorney General

(Bloomberg) -- Governor-elect Phil Murphy is pushing for New Jersey to have the nation’s first Sikh state attorney general, a job he expects to become high-profile as President Donald Trump meets resistance on immigration and civil-rights restrictions.

Murphy, a Democrat who takes office in January, on Tuesday announced his first Cabinet nomination: Gurbir Grewal, 44, the Bergen County prosecutor since January 2016 and a former assistant U.S. attorney. The son of South Asian immigrants, Grewal called himself a proud resident of one of the nation’s most culturally and ethnically diverse states, and one who had “experienced hate and intolerance firsthand.”

“Our state need someone with a steel backbone who will not be afraid to stand up to President Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress to protect the rights and values of our state and of all 9 million of our residents,” Murphy said at a news conference in Trenton.

The appointment comes a day after a pipe-bomb explosion underneath the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York. Trump used the incident to call for the U.S. to “fix its lax immigration system.”

Akayed Ullah, the 27-year-old suspect, came to the U.S. from Bangladesh in 2011 on a family immigrant visa, according to the Department of Homeland Security. That policy is “incompatible with national security,” Trump said in a written statement.

Grewal, a registered Democrat and married father of three from Glen Rock, was appointed to the county position by outgoing Governor Chris Christie, a Republican. Grewal must be confirmed for the state post by a legislative committee and the full state Senate, which is controlled by Democrats.

Earlier this year, Grewal ordered Mahwah Township police not to enforce local restrictions on park visits by out-of-state residents, an issue that arose as Orthodox Jews from New York expanded an eruv, or ritual Sabbath boundary, over state lines. Middle-of-the-night vandalism to parts of the eruv are under investigation as a hate crime.

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