NJ Politics Digest: Fight Brewing Over Counties’ Refusal to Obey AG’s Policies

State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is warning sheriffs in two New Jersey counties to stop cooperating with federal immigration officials and obey his directives on dealing with undocumented immigrants.

New Jersey State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal
New Jersey State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. Office of the Attorney General / Tim Larsen

State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is warning sheriffs in two New Jersey counties to stop cooperating with federal immigration officials and obey his directives on dealing with undocumented immigrants.

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Grewal wants sheriffs in Monmouth and Cape May Counties to stop helping federal officials enforce immigration law and instead comply with his “Immigrant Trust Directive,” which NJ.com reports “seeks to limit police cooperation with ICE to criminal matters, rather than civil immigration proceedings.”

Grewal opposes the sheriffs helping federal authorities capture and deport undocumented people, according to the report. He argues that his prohibitions against enforcing federal law are necessary to ensure that undocumented immigrants feel safe enough to cooperate with authorities when it comes to reporting and prosecuting crimes.

While Grewal admits that his directive is a “sensitive issue,” NJ.com reports that he also contends residents and officials cannot instruct law enforcement officials to ignore his interpretation of the law and his directives.

Grewal is also trying to prevent Sussex County voters from weighing in on whether or not officials there should ignore state directives and instead enforce federal law. Such a vote would be a embarrassing to Gov. Phil Murphy, who appointed Grewal to his political post, and a rebuke to the governor’s progressive agenda. Grewal claims that such a ballot question would run afoul of state law.

Since assuming office, Murphy and Grewal have filed numerous lawsuits challenging Trump Administration policies on everything from immigration to the environment.

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NJ Politics Digest: Fight Brewing Over Counties’ Refusal to Obey AG’s Policies