NEW JERSEY- On Friday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr filed a brief that supported Cape May County and Ocean County’s legal challenges to New Jersey’s “Immigrant Trust Directive” that went into effect last March after being signed in November 2018.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal was not happy with the decision by Barr to sign on to the lawsuits.
“I am deeply disappointed that the Trump Administration, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have suddenly chosen to challenge New Jersey’s Immigrant Trust Directive in court over a year after it was issued,” Grewal said in a written statement.
“At a time when we need to be building bridges with our immigrant communities, the federal government is working to push them further into the shadows,” he said.
Spoken like a true open borders liberal.
According to Grewal, the intent of the directive is to “protect public safety by ensuring that victims and witnesses come forward and report crimes to law enforcement without fear of deportation.”
“The federal government’s efforts to coerce states into implementing its immigration agenda have failed repeatedly in the past,” Grewal said and further stated that officials would respond in court “at the appropriate time.”
The policy has been criticized as providing “sanctuary” to immigrants who are here illegally, which Grewal insists is not the case.
“Under our Immigrant Trust Directive, if you break the law you go to jail regardless of your immigration status. No one—I repeat no one—gets a free pass in this state to commit a crime,” Grewal had said at a news conference last September.
Last year, ICE criticized the Middlesex and Cumberland county jails in the state for releasing a child-rape defendant and two men charged with domestic violence after Superior Court judges had cleared them for release. At the time, ICE Acting Director criticized local jurisdictions in New Jersey of not honoring ICE detainers.
At the same time, Monmouth County sheriff Shaun Golden, who was also the county Republican chairman said:
“These are challenging times for law enforcement, as we do not recall a directive that has ever been issued to ignore laws of this country or state,” in a statement.
“As a result, we shall continue to pursue legal remedies to this directive, which deprives Monmouth County of the ability to identify individuals who have committed crimes and are here illegally.”
This was in response to Grewal ordering Golden and the sheriff in Cape May to stop cooperating with ICE by “ripping up” their 287(g) agreements. Those agreements were in contradiction to the Immigration Trust Directive.
The Trust Directive restricts voluntary assistance between law enforcement officers and federal immigration agents, including ICE. Its restrictions include:
-Law enforcement can’t stop, arrest, question or search someone only based on immigration status.
-Law enforcement can’t ask for the immigration status of any individual, unless it’s relevant to the investigation of a serious crime.
-Law enforcement can’t participate in civil immigration enforcement by ICE.
-Law enforcement can’t provide ICE with access to law enforcement resources, unless those same resources are generally available to the public.
-Law enforcement can only allow ICE members to interview an individual arrested on a criminal charge, once that person is advised of his or her right to a lawyer.
Grewal’s office also claimed the following:
-Nothing in the Directive limits the ability of law enforcement officers to enforce state criminal law.
-Nothing in the Directive restricts officers from complying with the requirements of federal law.
-Nothing in the directive prevents officers from enforcing valid court orders, including search or arrest warrants signed by state or federal judges
-Nothing in the Directive “stops officers from assisting federal immigration authorities in response to exigent circumstances.
Cape May officials had called the policy a violation of the U.S. Constitution, in a federal complaint filed last October. County Sheriff Robert Nolan said the directive is “intentional interference” by Grewal, which Nolan claims impedes his ability to do his job and keep county residents safe.
The month prior, Ocean County filed a federal lawsuit calling the directive “unconstitutional, invalid and unenforceable.”
The suit further said that the directive is superseded by federal regulations and is also a violation of New Jersey’s “home rule,” which permits county and local governments to have control over local needs and functions.”
Several other counties in New Jersey have passed resolutions supporting Ocean County’s lawsuit against the Trust Directive—Warren, Toms River, Jackson, Lavallette, Plumstead, Long Beach, Bay Head, Lacey, Barnegat, Stafford and Berkeley.
So-called “sanctuary policies” are meeting with resistance with sheriffs refusing to go along with touchy-feely, namby-pamby politically (in)correct politicians. Even voters in many cases have had enough.
Last November, also in New Jersey, voters in Sussex County overwhelmingly showed support for a question on the ballot about continuing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
The ballot question read:
“Should the Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Sussex cooperate with and make reasonably available to the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents the tools, resources, personnel and real, personal and intellectual property owned by the County, under its direct control.”
According to unofficial results, the question passed with 67% support; 22,081 voted “Yes” while 10,982 voted “No.”
However, politicians do not care, especially in blue states such as New Jersey. They will continue to pursue policies in favor of illegal aliens, no matter what their constituents say.
Unfortunately, local law enforcement agencies are being caught in the middle. And many have had enough. It is interesting that the law enforcement officials you see fighting back against this governmental overreach are the local and county sheriffs, who are answerable to the electorate.
Chiefs of Police, by and large political appointees, are more beholden to the whims of the politicians in town and city halls, and the state houses.
They are unelected and therefore only accountable to those that appoint them. This particularly true in larger cities. Unfortunately, many of them are caught between a rock and a hard place. Kowtow to the politicians, or risk losing their jobs. Many are simply in no-win situations.
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