New Jersey introduced a new directive to curtail local police’s ability to inquire about someone’s immigration status and turn undocumented immigrants over to immigration officials for deportation.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced the new rules Thursday, saying they are intended to ameliorate relations between police officials and immigrant communities they serve, according to NJ.com.
"No law-abiding resident of this great state should live in fear that a routine traffic stop by local police will result in his or her deportation from this country," Grewal said.
Under the new rules, New Jersey police cannot stop or detain anyone based on their immigration status, cannot ask the immigration status of anyone unless it is part of an ongoing investigation into a serious crime, police officers cannot participate in ICE raids and ICE cannot utilize state or local resources.
Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration has been working on revamping police guidelines regarding immigrants shortly after he was elected last year, according to NJ.com.
He said he would make New Jersey a “sanctuary state” during his campaign, but Grewal said the state would still go after criminals.
"If you break the law in New Jersey we will go after you no matter your immigration status," Grewal said.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement slammed the policy, saying it would make the public less safe.
"Ultimately, this directive shields certain criminal aliens, creating a state-sanctioned haven for those seeking to evade federal authorities, all at the expense of the safety and security of the very people the New Jersey Attorney General is charged with protecting," Matthew Albence, an ICE deputy director, told NJ.com.
Grewal said the new directive does not stop local or state police from complying with federal law or court orders, including those regarding undocumented immigrants. Police can still aid ICE in emergencies and work with it on joint task forces.
The news comes as the nation is consumed in a fierce debate over immigration laws as the White House takes steps to limit both legal and illegal border crossings and restrict migrants' paths to claiming asylum.