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NJ Attorney General limits law enforcement assistance to ICE in directive

<p>The new rules are meant to draw a clear line between the responsibility of New Jersey’s 36,000 law enforcement officers to enforce state criminal laws and the responsibility of federal immigration authorities to enforce federal civil immigration law.</p>

The new rules are meant to draw a clear line between the responsibility of New Jersey’s 36,000 law enforcement officers to enforce state criminal laws and the responsibility of federal immigration authorities to enforce federal civil immigration law.


New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal (D) issued a directive to all state, county and local law enforcement agencies to limit the types of voluntary assistance to federal civil immigration authorities, such as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

The new rules are meant to draw a clear line between the responsibility of New Jersey’s 36,000 law enforcement officers to enforce state criminal laws and the responsibility of federal immigration authorities to enforce federal civil immigration law, according to the directive. 

The directive, known as Attorney General Directive 2018-6, states that law enforcement cannot turn over law-abiding undocumented immigrants to federal civil immigration authorities and: 

  • Cannot stop, question, arrest, search or detain any individual based solely on actual or suspected immigration status
  • Cannot 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
  • Cannot participate in civil immigration enforcement operations conducted by ICE
  • Cannot 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
  • Cannot allow ICE to interview an individual arrested on a criminal charge unless that person is advised of his or her right to a lawyer.

Attorney General Grewal, according to the directive, said that nothing within it limits New Jersey law enforcement agencies from enforcing state law. Nothing in the directive should be read to imply that New Jersey provides “sanctuary” to those who commit crimes in this state or that law enforcement will not comply with federal law or valid court orders. 

“With respect to detainees charged with violent or serious offenses – such as murder, rape, arson, assault, bias crimes and domestic violence offenses – New Jersey law enforcement and correction officials may notify ICE of the detainee’s upcoming release," the directive states.

The directive came a day after The Daily Targum reported that University President Robert L. Barchi reaffirmed Rutgers as a “safe haven” for undocumented immigrants and that the Rutgers University Police Department would follow the guidelines directed by the state attorney general. 


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