Is Your New Jersey Sheriff Cooperating Fully with ICE? Unless You Live in Cape May County, The Answer is No

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TOMS RIVER, NJ – Cape May County is the only county fully cooperating with providing identifying information with ICE, according to a new report released by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.  Cape May is the only county in the state that is providing information to the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement upon the incarceration of illegal aliens in their county jail.  Cape May provided ICE agents information 30 different times in 2019 out of a total of 32 reports statewide.  Cape May County also provides ICE access to illegal inmates lodged in the Cape May County Jail.

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today released 2019 annual reporting data from all state, county and local law enforcement agencies under the Immigrant Trust Directive (ITD), a landmark statewide policy issued by the Attorney General in November 2018 to strengthen trust between New Jersey’s law enforcement officers and the state’s immigrant communities.

The only other counties that provide access to inmates while incarcerated on a regular basis are Essex County, Passaic Count and Middlesex County.  Ocean County, under the direction of Sheriff Michael Mastronardy does not alert ICE to illegals upon their arrest and does not provide ICE access to illegal aliens serving in their jails, the report said.

Most counties do provide ICE notifications prior to an individual’s release from custody.  Gloucester, Hunterdon, Somerset, Sussex, Warren, Salem, Hudson, and Camden Counties regularly do not cooperate with ICE and give the agency no formal notices about the illegal immigration status of their inmates.

Pursuant to the terms of the ITD, the Attorney General’s Office has posted online a consolidated report detailing all instances of assistance by state, county, and local law enforcement agencies to federal immigration authorities for the purpose of enforcing federal civil immigration law in 2019, the first year of operations under the policy.

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As the report shows, assistance to federal immigration authorities was limited almost exclusively to state and county corrections agencies. The ITD places reasonable limits on when such agencies may honor immigration detainers, striking an appropriate balance between public safety needs and constitutional requirements. It permits such agencies to provide notice to federal immigration authorities of a detained individual’s upcoming release from state prison or county jail if the individual is currently charged with or has ever been convicted of a violent or serious offense, as defined in the ITD, or has been convicted of any other indictable crime within the past five years. In addition, such notice may be provided in compliance with a valid judicial warrant or other court order.

In cases where notice is permitted under the ITD, state or county corrections agencies may continue detention of an individual past the time they would otherwise be eligible for release to allow for a requesting agency to execute a detainer, judicial warrant or court order. However, any such continued detention may last only until 11:59 p.m. of the individual’s release date.

The vast majority of people turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by state and county corrections agencies within the permitted bounds of the ITD are individuals who pose a safety or security risk to the public. Contrary to misinformation spread by opponents of the Immigrant Trust Directive, nothing in the ITD provides “sanctuary” to those who commit crimes in New Jersey.

To see the 2019 ITD Annual Reporting data click here.

“All anecdotal information and data that we have indicate that law enforcement officers throughout New Jersey are, with few exceptions, following both the letter and the spirit of the Immigrant Trust Directive,” said Attorney General Grewal. “The Immigrant Trust Directive not only protects our immigrant communities, but also enhances public safety by ensuring that immigrants come forward to law enforcement when they are crime victims or witnesses. aWe’re confident that this policy is working and that it is building trust between our police officers and the diverse communities they serve.”

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More information on the Immigrant Trust Directive is found at this link:
https://www.nj.gov/oag/trust/

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