Former Burlington County Sheriff Jean Stanfield on Sunday fired back at attacks level by Assemblyman Joe Howarth in mailers claiming she did not comply with a request to hold an immigrant in the country illegally submitted to the county by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“In Burlington County the sheriff is not in charge of the jail,” Stanfield, who is running for Assembly, said. “As a former freeholder, Joe should know this. They have a warden appointed by the freeholder board so I had nothing to do with the decision to let that individual go. I never even heard about it until I saw Joe’s flyer.”
Howarth is mounting an off-the-line bid after losing the support of Burlington’s Republican party over a belief that he attempted to switch parties along with State Sen. Dawn Addiego when the latter defected from the GOP earlier this year.
Howarth denies attempting to hop across the aisle, though multiple sources belonging to both parties have told the New Jersey Globe that Howarth attempted to flip.
Such requests by ICE to hold immigrant suspects for an additional 48 hours, called detainers, are not legally binding.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has since issued a directive ordering law enforcement agencies not to cooperate with ICE’s detainers in most circumstances.
Another directive that was in effect at the time of the incident was vague on the topic of detainers.