County jails can no longer check immigration status of inmates under new directive
County jails in New Jersey will no longer be allowed to check on the immigration status of inmates under a new order issued by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.
The directive ends 287G – the federal agreement between local law enforcement agencies and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Grewal’s directive is believed to be in response to an ongoing dispute between the Democrat and the Republican sheriffs of Monmouth and Cape May counties.
"I've concluded that these agreements undermine public trust without enhancing public safety and that any of their purported benefits are already achieved through our Immigrant Trust Directive,” Grewal said Friday.
The Immigrant Trust Directive limits how New Jersey law enforcers interact with ICE agents – something that Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden said that he was reluctant to do. He said at the time that he just wants to keep the public safe.
“And if that means checking somebody for status and working with the federal agency to protect the public that's what we do,” Golden said in July.
The attorney general also rebuked ICE officials, who said on Thursday that they arrested 54 people after a sweep to find those who had been released by local authorities.
"Enough is enough. We want jurisdictions to rethink their policies and laws they've enacted. That it really comes down to public safety,” ICE Deputy Executive Assistant Director Henry Lucero said.
But Grewal disputed those claims, saying, "2,400 people are arrested in New Jersey on an average week. Those are the people that we need to prosecute and to prosecute those crimes we need victims and witnesses to come forward."
Grewal says that anyone committing a crime in New Jersey will be prosecuted, regardless of immigration status.
"If you break the law, you go to jail…No one and I repeat no one gets a free pass in this state to commit crime,” Grewal said.
The sheriffs have seven days to wind down their cooperation with ICE. They did not comment on the attorney general’s order Friday.