Rules restricting NJ law enforcement’s cooperation with ICE go in effect

Posted: Updated:

New rules are in effect that limit New Jersey law enforcement agencies’ cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

The rules were announced by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal last year. They went into effect on March 15.

Under the attorney general’s “Immigrant Trust Directive,” police can't question, search or arrest anyone based solely on suspected immigration status. They also can't ask a person's immigration status unless it's necessary for investigating a serious offense.

Police also are barred from participating in civil immigration enforcement operations conducted by federal authorities.

RELATED: New Jersey announces restrictions on ICE cooperation 

But New Jersey officers aren't barred from assisting federal authorities during emergency circumstances.

Grewal said that the new rules enable people in the United States illegally to interact with police more freely.

“They fear that a call to police will end in their total deportation and so…they don’t say anything when they’re victims of violence or fraud,” said Grewal.

But Grewal stated that the rules would not allow criminals to get a free pass. He said that anyone who breaks New Jersey state laws will be prosecuted.

When Grewal announced the new rules, officials with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency slammed the new directive and said that it shields certain criminals, creating a state-sanctioned haven for those seeking to evade federal authorities.

"ICE will have no choice but to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at work sites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests," the agency said in a statement.



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