Trenton, NJ – Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents will be conducting even more large-scale arrests throughout the state, after the New Jersey attorney general issued a directive limiting the amount of assistance local police will be allowed to provide.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced the implementation of the “Immigrant Trust Directive” on Thursday, WCAU reported.
"No law-abiding resident of this great state should live in fear that a routine traffic stop by local police will result in his or her deportation from this country," Grewal said, according to the Asbury Park Patch.
Grewal referred to illegal immigrant communities as the state’s most vulnerable residents,” and said they had been pushed “deeper into the shadows” due to the “culture of fear” that has allegedly been created by President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
By limiting local law enforcement’s ability to hold illegal aliens accountable, they will be able to “feel safe” around police, which could increase trust, Grewal reasoned.
Under the directive, which goes into effect on Mar. 15, 2019, New Jersey law enforcement officers will be prohibited from stopping, searching, or detaining individuals solely based on their immigration status, the Asbury Park Patch reported.
They also are forbidden from participating in ICE operations, can no longer provide them with information, office space, or other law enforcement resources, and may not allow ICE to interview an arrested person unless the suspect has been told they have a right to an attorney.
"We know from experience that individuals are far less likely to report a crime to the local police if they fear that the responding officer will turn them over to federal immigration authorities," Grewal said. "That fear makes it more difficult for officers to solve crimes and bring suspects to justice."
The attorney general said the directive was intended to “draw a clear distinction between local police and federal civil immigration authorities,” the Asbury Park Patch reported.
ICE immediately condemned the directive, arguing that it will compromise citizens’ safety by shielding criminals, WCAU reported.
"The New Jersey Attorney General's decision to further limit law enforcement's ability to cooperate with ICE undermines public safety and hinders ICE from performing its federally-mandated mission," ICE Deputy Director Matthew Albence said in a statement, according to the news outlet.
"Ultimately, this directive shields certain criminal aliens, creating a state-sanctioned haven for those seeking to evade federal authorities, all at the expense of the safety and security of the very people the NJ Attorney General is charged with protecting," Albence argued.
ICE spokesman Emilio Dabul said that the state should expect large-scale arrests and worksite enforcement operations “due to the face that ICE ERO will no longer have the cooperation of the jails related to immigration enforcement,” WCAU reported.
"[ICE’s] highest priority is public safety and enforcing immigration laws,” Dabul said. “We must pursue that to the best extent possible, which will likely involve more at-large arrests and worksite enforcement operations."
An estimated 500,000 illegal aliens are currently living in New Jersey, according to the news outlet.
Using state and local police, Grewal’s office has created informative videos in Spanish, Creole, Hindi, Korean, Portuguese, and other languages to explain the Immigrant Trust Directive to illegal alien communities, NJ.com reported.