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New Jersey Becomes Sanctuary State

local state law enforcement police checking immigrant driver’s licenses for id of immigration status

Yesterday, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced a directive limiting the assistance state, county, and local law enforcement agencies can give to federal immigration officials.  According to the Attorney General’s Office, the “Immigrant Trust Directive,” which applies “to all state, county and local law enforcement agencies, including police, prosecutors, county detectives, sheriff’s officers, and correction officers,” states they cannot:

  • Stop, question, arrest, search, or detain any individual based solely on actual or suspected immigration status
  • Ask the immigration status of any individual, unless doing so is necessary to the ongoing investigation of a serious offense and relevant to the offense under investigation
  • Participate in civil immigration enforcement operations conducted by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • Provide ICE with access to state or local law enforcement resources, including equipment, office space, databases, or property, unless those resources are readily available to the public
  • Allow ICE to interview an individual arrested on a criminal charge unless that person is advised of his or her right to a lawyer

The directive does not prohibit county and state correctional facilities from entering into contracts with ICE to hold immigrant detainees (often indefinitely) in New Jersey prisons—a practice that generates tens of millions in revenue annually.

Immigrants are reminded that the Immigrant Trust Directive does not prevent ICE from effectuating an arrest within New Jersey, opening new and expanding current ICE facilities in New Jersey, and increasing the number of federal agents assigned to the state—three things ICE is expected to announce in response to the Immigrant Trust Directive.

To read the Attorney General’s directive, click here.  To learn more about this or any other immigration matter, please feel free to contact me at