Freeholders Back Sheriff’s Fight To Work With ICE

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first_imgIn March, the sheriff renewed the 287(g) for 10 years ahead of its June 30 expiration date, a move which upset Grewal because he was supposed to sign off on all such agreements. Grewal has maintained that these agreements do not make communities safer and said law enforcement can notify ICE in cases when an illegal immigrant has been arrested for murder, rape or other offenses specified in his directive. “We’re going to explore all legal options to the policy,” Golden said. “It’s counterintuitive to not have law enforcement work with each other. In a post-9/11 era, we continue to share data and intelligence with other law enforcement agencies. And that should be the case.” “All undocumented immigrants,” she said, “need to be documented in some way, period.” Monmouth finds itself in the national debate on immigration, as critics of the Trump administration and its so-called “deportation agenda” have set their sights on ending 287(g) agreements. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center, a nonprofit advocacy group headquartered in San Francisco, California, has provided a tool kit for organizers laying out everything from media strategy to tips on how to drum up opposition. The timing of the fight between Monmouth and the state comes with less than a month before the general election, where Republicans Golden, Arnone and freeholder candidate and Wall Township committeeman Dominick DiRocco are on the ballot. DiRocco said freeholders had taken the “first step in protecting county residents from the state’s misguided policy.” “Permitting our county sheriffs to make the call regarding their working with the federal government is the right way to go here,” he said. “Our sheriff and freeholders are smart, deliberative people. Their focus is on providing every tool to our law enforcement personnel to keep us safe.” The county was not paid by the federal government for being in the arrangement with ICE. Golden and freeholders feel that participating in the program “has made the streets of Monmouth County safer for our residents and has permitted Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain and prosecute individuals who are charged with serious crimes and pose a significant threat to our community,” according to a resolution freeholders adopted Oct. 10 to authorize looking for outside counsel. One state lawmaker fromMonmouth County lookedto Washington D.C. to solvethe problem. The scope of such voluntary agreements varies around the country. In Monmouth, where a 287(g) had been in place for about a decade, the arrangement was a jail model. Staff at the county jail would check on whether an inmate was in the country illegally and, if so, alert ICE. But Rhoda Chodosh, a Manalapan resident active in Republican politics, shared the steps she had to follow to become a U.S. citizen legally. Lee Moore, a spokesmanfor Grewal’s office, had nocomment. Officials are looking to move quickly on getting legal help. County counsel Michael D. Fitzgerald, speaking at the freeholder meeting, told the board he would present them with some choices at their next meeting Oct. 24. Golden said he understood the purpose of Grewal’s directive but he thought it also contained loopholes “that allow for repetitive offenders and escalating offenders that would normally be caught in a 287(g) system to now be set free in our community.” Grewal has been a critic of the Trump administration when it comes to immigration and other issues. In November he issued his first version of the “immigrant trust directive” in which he sharply curtailed law enforcement agencies’ role in cooperating with ICE. His revised version of that directive was released last month. Moira Nelson and Michael Penna, the two Democrats running for freeholder, said they support Grewal’s directive. “It’s only for people that are in jail and created a crime,” said Thomas A. Arnone, freeholder director, during the freeholder meeting Oct. 10. “It’s not the average person that just gets stopped for a traffic ticket.” center_img Monmouth County freeholders plan to challenge New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal in federal court over his decision forbidding county Sheriff Shaun Golden’s office from cooperating with federal immigration officials. But state Sen. DeclanO’Scanlon Jr. (R-13) said hefelt Grewal was “wrong” inthis case. “Put simply, New Jersey’s law enforcement officers protect the public by investigating state criminal offenses and enforcing state criminal laws,” Grewal wrote in the directive. “They are not responsible for enforcing civil immigration violations except in narrowly defined circumstances. Such responsibilities instead fall to the federal government and those operating under its authority.” The first step in that process came last week when they started looking for outside legal counsel, either an attorney or law firm, to represent Monmouth in a suit against Grewal and the state. The decision was prompted by Grewal’s actions last month. Monmouth County would not be the first to challenge Grewal in court. Ocean County has sued, while Cape May County is also looking to take on the attorney general. Like Monmouth, those two counties are Republican-controlled. Itzel Perez, an activist from Red Bank, urged the board to “reconsider going into a lawsuit” over the attorney general’s directive. Betsy Wattley, of Shrewsbury, said she was “devastated” the board was considering suing. On Sept. 27, he issued a revised directive forbidding all law enforcement agencies in New Jersey from renewing or entering into 287(g) arrangements with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As in the past on this issue, critics of the 287(g) program turned out to the freeholder meeting to voice opposition. “The 287(g) rules allow the federal government to almost deputize local law enforcement to be immigration agents, with no set rules how policy will be applied,” Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D-11) said. “I wish the federal government, who is in charge of immigration and deportation, would do their job, create better guidelines for their agents and stop driving a wedge between local law enforcement and the communities they serve.” The sheriff’s offices in Cape May and Monmouth counties were the only law enforcement agencies in the state to have 287(g) agreements, both of which were terminated by Grewal’s directive of Sept. 27. Freeholders and Golden, however, believe that the attorney general’s action conflicts with the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, namely that federal law is the supreme law of the land, according to the resolution freeholders adopted last week. “It’s unsafe,” Golden said. “Our opponents continue to politicize the issue to fuel an already divisive cultural conversation,” they said in a statement. “No one is suggesting that suspected criminals should be set free or that information pertaining to their crime shouldn’t be shared with other appropriate departments. We’re highly disappointed to see that the Freeholders are moving forward with hiring an attorney to challenge the AG’s directive. It sends the wrong message and is a flat-out waste of Monmouth taxpayers’ dollars.” By Philip Sean Curran In 2018, 40 inmates atthe jail out of about 7,800were identified as ICE holdsand detainees, Golden said.last_img

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