Legislators in the 10th district applauded an upcoming suit to be filed by the Ocean County Freeholder Board that seeks to overturn a directive limiting cooperation between the state’s law enforcement agencies and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“Gov. Murphy’s preoccupation with protecting illegal aliens over lawful citizens is baffling and flat out wrong,” said State Sen. Jim Holzapfel said. “Those who are in our country illegally are cheating our already generous immigration system by bypassing the rules legal immigrants are required to follow. As a former Ocean County prosecutor, I commend the Ocean County Freeholders for standing up and taking legal action to ensure our local law enforcement can work with ICE to deport known criminals who are already in custody.”
The directive, issued by State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, bars law enforcement officials from making stops on suspicion that an individual might be in the country illegally and forbids asking about an individual’s immigration status in most cases.
Corrections officials in some Republican-held counties, including Ocean, have ignored parts of the directive that ban cooperation with ICE.
“We are a nation of laws, and the Governor cannot pick and choose which laws to follow or not follow based on emotions rather than facts,” Assemblyman Greg McGuckin said. “If you are an illegal immigrant and you commit an additional crime on New Jersey soil, our jails shouldn’t have their hands tied and be forced to look the other way. The Ocean County Freeholders are not only prioritizing public safety over politics, they are ensuring our tax dollars are not wasted on criminals who shouldn’t be here in the first place.”
The directive’s proponents, Grewal included, have said the directive is meant to make immigrant communities safer by eliminating fears of deportation that could stop immigrants in the country illegally from calling the police.
“We cannot allow criminals who have no respect for U.S. laws to find sanctuary in New Jersey,” Assemblyman Dave Wolfe said. “Our Attorney General should spend less time hindering local law enforcement from doing their job, and switch his focus to enhancing public safety for New Jersey’s citizens. We stand with the Freeholders of Ocean County, and hope this dangerous directive will be repealed in federal court.”
Mo Hill, the Republican candidate for Toms River mayor, similarly praised the freeholders’ move.
“The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders are to be commended for fighting the Murphy Administration’s Sanctuary State Policies,” Hill said. “Our outstanding law enforcement officers in Toms River, Ocean County and throughout New Jersey should be empowered to cooperate with ICE officials to enforce federal law.”
Editor’s Note: This article was updated with comment from Hill at 5:27 p.m.