JERSEY CITY and NEWARK. Research has shown that immigrants are less likely to report crimes or seek assistance for domestic violence if they believe that reporting these crimes will lead to their deportation or to the deportation of their loved ones. Furthermore, some local police officers want to distance themselves from ICE because it makes it more difficult for local police to investigate crimes if local individuals are afraid of the police. A recent New Jersey police Enforcement Directive aims to rebuild trust between police and immigrant communities in the wake of the Trump administration’s actions.
The Directive released by the New Jersey police force clarifies the different roles between state law enforcement directives and federal law enforcement directives. Essentially, the directive clarifies what New Jersey police have always done, which is to enforce and pursue state law enforcement violations. Immigration violations fall to federal authorities like ICE to pursue. While local police may occasionally be required to assist federal officers in pursuing violations of immigration law, this is usually only in narrow cases. When immigrants report crimes, or when they seek help from police for violence, or when they provide information to police to help them solve a crime, they should not become targets for immigration enforcement.
However, it is important to note that the memo merely tells the immigrant community that its officers won’t be asking for immigration papers during routine stops or during routine encounters. However, if there is a court order for your removal from the country, local police may be required to comply. According to WCBS Radio, immigration officers are only empowered to ask about a person’s immigration status when the person’s immigration status is related to a crime. Furthermore, the state of New Jersey will not hold inmates for ICE enforcement. It will leave the jailing and enforcement of illegal immigration to federal agents.
Yet, the decreased role of police in enforcing federal law could mean an increase in federal presence in New Jersey. According to NJ.com, ICE claims that it will increase its presence in New Jersey in order to meet its enforcement directives. ICE claims that it will aim to perform more arrests at work locations, businesses, and in local New Jersey communities. The New Jersey attorney general notes that the state won’t change its police policy.
According to NJ.com, ICE arrests in New Jersey have been increasing.
Eric M. Mark Law is a criminal defense and immigration lawyer in Jersey City and Newark, New Jersey who understands where criminal defense law meets immigration law. If you are facing criminal charges, want to report a crime, or anticipate an encounter with New Jersey police, it is usually in your best interests to understand your rights when it comes to immigration law and criminal law. Eric M. Mark Law can help you understand what police can and cannot do in your particular situation and help you understand what ICE is and isn’t empowered to do. Individuals have important civil rights protections when encountering both police and ICE.
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