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State Sen. Joe Pennacchio.

Pennacchio pushing bill on immigrant sex offenders

Measure would force police to cooperate with ICE

By Nikita Biryukov, March 13 2019 11:52 am

State Sen. Joe Pennacchio is sponsoring a bill that would require immigrants in the country illegally who have been convicted or charged with a sex crime in another country to register under Megan’s Law if apprehended by police in the state.

“Sex offenders should not be given safe harbor in New Jersey, just because the offense was committed in another country,” Pennacchio said. “New Jersey has a dangerous loophole, that allows illegal immigrants who are convicted or fleeing sex crime charges from another country to fly under the radar – and the State Attorney General’s recent Sanctuary State directive made this even worse.”

The measure is unlikely to pass in its current state, as it contains a provision that would require police to notify and cooperate with relevant immigration agencies if they are unable to ascertain an immigrant’s legal status.

State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal last year issued a directive that limited coordination between police in the state and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency charged with deporting immigrants in the country illegally.

Democrats are unlikely to countermand that directive, but they may be inclined to support a version of the bill without the cooperation requirement.

“Sanctuary states should not protect sex offenders,” Pennacchio said. “New Jersey residents demanded action following the horrific murder of Megan Kanka. Legal residents must comply with Megan’s Law. My legislation will ensure people who are here illegally are held to the same standards.”

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