Police officers and sheriffs are pushing back hard against the attorney general of New Jersey after the threatened to take legal action against anyone found to be assisting federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in apprehending illegal aliens in the state.
As reported by Law Enforcement Today, AG Gurbir Grewal singled out two sheriff’s offices this week for “failing to inform the state’s attorney general that they are helping federal immigration authorities capture and deport undocumented migrants.”
The site noted:
In the aggressive letters that Grewal’s office sent to the elected sheriffs in Monmouth and Cape May this week, officials claim the county sheriffs went directly against a directive that Grewal had issued which would aim to limit cooperation between New Jersey cops and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
It’s called Law Enforcement Directive 2018-6, more often referred to as the “Immigrant Trust Directive”, and it bars local law enforcement agencies from voluntarily working with federal immigration officials.
Grewal’s office now says that working with federal officials in this capacity would “essentially deputize our state’s police officers to act like ICE agents.” Grewal says that the measure was supposed to build trust between the immigrant communities and law enforcement for reporting and helping with criminal investigations. He says cooperation with ICE can only continue if he decides it serves “a valid law enforcement purpose.”
Greater Lakewood news added that the AG accused the sheriff’s departments of working too closely with ICE. Last year, Sussex Sheriff Mike Strada “accused the AG of making New Jersey a sanctuary state,” the paper reported.
— GreaterLakewood.com (@GreaterLakewood) July 9, 2019
The local news site also published images of the letters Grewel’s office sent to the departments.
Law Enforcement Today noted further that police agencies have sent letters to U.S. Attorney General William Barr protesting Grewel’s policy. Also, New Jersey citizens have petitioned to have the policy put to a statewide vote, but so far to no avail.
For his part, Grewel claims to have absolute authority over the actions of local police jurisdictions in the state by issuing his directive.
“Officials and residents may not instruct their law enforcement officers to ignore a law enforcement directive,” Grewal said following complaints about the measure.
Grewal’s directive went into effect in March of 2019. NJ.com reported that at the time, sheriff’s offices in three New Jersey counties — Cape May, Monmouth and Salem — still had existing agreements with ICE under a program dubbed “287g,” which allows state and local law enforcement to “act as a force multiplier” for ICE. Several counties had earlier done away with the agreements, which in New Jersey mainly applied to officers in county jails.
21 states take part in the 287g program. Officials say it “allows ICE to actively engage criminal alien offenders while incarcerated in a secure and controlled environment.”
Just last week, Grewel bragged on Twitter about New Jersey working with “federal” and other partners to curb criminal activity.
Everyone deserves to live in a community free from fear & violence. We want New Jerseyans to know that we're doing everything we can by working w/ our federal & local partners to make that promise a reality. Reducing violent crime is a top priority & we won’t waver in our efforts
— AG Gurbir Grewal (@NewJerseyOAG) July 3, 2019
That sounds rather hypocritical.
Law Enforcement Today added:
Let’s get this straight. Law enforcement officers in New Jersey are doing their jobs by working with federal ICE agents to arrest and deport people who are actively breaking the law, and the attorney general, who is supposed to work alongside the criminal justice system to uphold the Constitution… is threatening them?
When did we decide which laws are important and which aren’t? How is living in the country illegally justified because a leader in your state suddenly decided to go against federal law enforcement agencies and declare the community one of sanctuary?
This is becoming far too popular of a trend.