Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the end of a five-day sweep across New Jersey, netting the arrest of immigrants in 16 counties. The operation targeted a broad range of individuals, including lawful permanent residents and other immigrants with criminal convictions as well as individuals present in the United States who have reentered after deportation or have pending criminal charges.
In a statement, ICE stressed that the operation was conducted by federal agents, without any assistance from any New Jersey state, county, or local law enforcement officials, who are barred from cooperating with ICE. Coincidentally, ICE’s five-day statewide sweep came the same week that New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal entered a directive prohibiting New Jersey state, county, and local law enforcement officials from, among other things, cooperating with federal immigration authorities in deportation enforcement or similar immigration-related operations.
While the Norris McLaughlin Immigration Blog previously reported that federal immigration officials threatened an increase in enforcement actions throughout New Jersey as a result of the Attorney General’s directive, ICE noted in its statement that the “operation was pre-planned and not as a result of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Directive last week limiting local and state law enforcement cooperation with ICE.” Nonetheless, as a result of the directive, ICE did make clear that it will, “have to conduct additional enforcement operations, if local police departments and county jails do not refer criminals and gang members they encounter to ICE for review and possible arrest on immigration violations.”
Federal immigration officials conducted raids and arrests in Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, and Union counties. Immigrants taken into federal custody were from 26 countries: Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador (8), Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Korea, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Taiwan, Trinidad, and Venezuela.
New Jersey immigrant communities are urged to be proactive. If you, a family member, or a friend, have an immigration concern, it is important that you speak to a competent, experienced New Jersey immigration attorney.