In New Jersey, Building Trust By Undermining Public Safety
Last Friday, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal once again undermined public safety when he issued a directive ending the use of 287(g) agreements, which allow state and local law enforcement to be trained to carry out certain immigration enforcement duties.
The new directive actually revises – and makes worse — the 2018 Immigrant Trust Directive, a set of rules Grewal maintained would promote public safety by building trust between immigrants and local police. The Directive gives sheriffs in the two remaining counties with operating 287(g) programs one week to comply.
Through the eyes of Grewal, no part of his action to further limit ICE’s ability to detain and arrest criminal aliens “should be read to imply that New Jersey provides ‘sanctuary’ to those who commit crimes”in his state.
Grewal even shamelessly claimed that there is a “climate of fear” resulting in people being “afraid to come out and report information to the extent they might have it,” concerning the search for 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez, who has been missing for more than a week.
However, he did not mention the arrests a week prior of 54 criminal illegal immigrants who had been released from New Jersey jails before federal law enforcement could detain them. The criminal aliens came from 12 separate countries and were part of a nationwide enforcement effort which led to 1,300 arrests.
According to ICE, there were 158,581 arrests of aliens made in FY2018, 90 percent of whom had criminal convictions (66 percent)pending criminal charges (21 percent) or previously issued final orders of removal (3%). That represents an 11 percent increase over FY2017, which is one reason several sheriffs have criticized the attorney general’s actions.
The sheriffs of Monmouth and Cape May counties see Grewal’s absurd focus on “building trust” as a detriment to public safety and renewed their agreements with ICE in the last year. The commitment to cooperating with ICE resulted in a warning from the attorney general’s office because they had “failed” to notify them of the decision to extend the agreements.
Despite being the Garden State’s highest law enforcement authority, Grewal lacks any authority to ban the use of a federal program and his unconstitutional actions further undermine the rule of law.
Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden said the attorney general’s decision not only puts law enforcement in a bind, but it also places in jeopardy in the safety of all communities, particularly immigrants.
“Law enforcement throughout Monmouth County never wants to be faced with a situation where a dangerous, undocumented immigrant is released from jail and poses a threat to a community. However, this sanctuary directive will make our communities less safe, since it places people in those communities at risk for increased violence,” he said in a statement.
Golden added that he fails to recall a directive ever issued “to ignore the laws of this country or state,” which was a sentiment shared by Cape May Sheriff Robert Nolan.
The 35-year veteran law enforcement officer said he’d never been told in his entire career “not to work with another law enforcement agency.” The county of Ocean, New Jersey has filed suit challenging the constitutionality of Grewal’s Immigrant Trust Directive and Cape May is planning to follow their lead.
Grewal’s latest directive adds to a growing number of actions officials in New Jersey are taking to protect criminal illegal immigrants at the expense of New Jersey residents and legal immigrants.
In May, New Jersey State Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner issued a May 23 directive that would protect “the effectiveness of our system of justice” by ensuring courthouses are “viewed as a safe forum” for witnesses and “criminal defendants.”