In an effort to strengthen the trust between the immigrant communities and law enforcement officials, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal issued a directive back in 2018 that limits “the types of voluntary assistance [New Jersey] officers may provide to federal civil immigration authorities, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)” [Source: The State of New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety]. Although the directive should not be interpreted as rules that provide sanctuary to immigrants who commit crimes in the state, it does establish rules that will help protect immigrants who are simply looking to live their lives free from harassment and unnecessary questioning from law enforcement officials.
Some of the things the new directive prevents officers from doing include:
- They “cannot stop, question, arrest, search, or detain any individual based solely on actual or suspected immigration status.”
- They “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.”
- They “cannot participate in civil immigration enforcement operations conducted by ICE.”
- They “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.”
- They “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.”
- The directive also prevents jails from “holding inmates indefinitely on behalf of ICE.”
Now, aside from familiarizing yourself with how this new rule will protect immigrants, it is equally important to understand what it won’t do. Some of the things the Immigrant Trust Directive won’t do include:
- Limit law enforcement agencies in NJ “from enforcing state law.”
- “Restrict police from complying with federal law or valid court orders, including judicially-issued arrest warrants for individuals, regardless of [their] immigration status.”
Not only is this new directive a way for immigrants to feel safer when they encounter a law enforcement officer, but it is expected to help encourage them to come forward and report a crime if and when they witness one. Prior to the passing of the directive, many immigrants often worried that if they were to take the initiative to report an offense, it could result in officials questioning them which in return could lead to them being placed in the deportation proceedings if they aren’t living in NJ legally.
Are you living in the state of NJ illegally or know someone who is?
Do you need help obtaining your green card or visa so that you don’t have to walk around in fear despite the new rules the Immigrant Trust Directive has established?
If you answered yes, we want you to know that The Law Office of Eric M. Mark is here to help you. Whether you need help filing the necessary paperwork to obtain your visa or want assistance with bringing a family member into the U.S. to live with you, our office can help you with any immigration-related matter. To find out more about the services we provide and what makes us the best immigration law firm in the state of New Jersey, contact us today at 973-453-2009 to schedule an initial consultation at one of our office locations
The Law Office of Eric M. Mark is located at:
201 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
Jersey City Office
121 Newark Avenue, Suite 515
Jersey City, NJ 07302
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20 Commerce Drive, Ste. 135
Cranford, NJ 07016