New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced a new directive yesterday effectively restricting local police from participating in federal immigration operations, creating a thorny affair between local police and federal entities such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Grewal’s announcement outlined clearer boundaries for NJ-based law enforcement from the state level on down, in the hopes that it will lower recent spikes detentions and deportations, as well as helping illegal immigrants feel comfortable reporting crimes without fear of being detained.
“It’s an effort to build a model here that promotes trust with law enforcement and all our communities, that shows our immigrant communities throughout New Jersey that they can trust law enforcement and go about their daily lives without the fear that a trip to the grocery store will result in their removal to a detention facility,” Grewal said at a news conference. “We’re saying that no matter what is happening in other parts of the country, no matter what federal authorities are trying to do, we can put forward a model of law enforcement policy that shows you can be pro-immigrant and pro-law enforcement.”
According to NorthJersey.com, ICE isn’t so happy with the news, noting it will put their agents at considerably higher risk levels while on operations.
“Ultimately, this directive shields certain criminal aliens, creating a state-sanctioned haven for those seeking to evade federal authorities, all at the expense of the safety and security of the very people the NJ Attorney General is charged with protecting,” said Matthew Albence, deputy director of ICE.
The new regulations now mean that local police can’t stop, question, arrest, search or detain any individual based solely on actual or suspected immigration status, and will be barred from participating in immigration raids or operations.
Furthermore, state or local agencies cannot hold a person arrested for a minor criminal offense past the time of release at the request of ICE and are not allowed to inform ICE of such an individual’s release, unless it involves a serious or violent offense, if the person has a final deportation order signed by a judge, or if he or she has been charged in the last five years in an indictable offense. Even in these cases, however, reporting is not mandatory.
Another part of the directive forbids local law enforcement from entering into certain agreements with federal authorities, under which state and local agencies are deputized to enforce federal civil immigration laws, without prior approval from the attorney general.
Informational videos on the matter have been released in ten languages, and all LE agencies have 30 days to come up with a way to explain the requirements to their officers.
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