Gov. Phil Murphy wants Bridgeton residents to know that their immigration status will not be questioned if they come forward with information about the possible abduction of a young girl on September 16, 2019.
Dulce Maria Alavez was five-years-old when she was abducted from a park in the Cumberland County city where nearly half the population is Hispanic.
Local officials worry that members of the immigrant community might fear that their cooperation could lead to questions about the legal status, but Murphy said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal’s 2018 Immigration Trust Directive “speaks explicitly to the fact that immigration status is of no interest as it relates to an investigation like this.”
Acting New Jersey State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan said the directive is intended to not “quell or prevent witnesses, especially in a tragic case like this, from coming forward.”
Callahan said Alavez’s disappearance is part of an active investigation.
“A lot of time has gone buy, but there’s not a day when out missing persons unit detectives are not focused on this investigation,” he said.
Alavez turned seven last month.
“It is a tragedy,” Murphy said. “Bless this little girl who continues to be missing.”