It’s Official: New Jersey Is a Sanctuary State

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On Friday, the New Jersey Immigrant Trust Directive went into effect–essentially ending any cooperation between the State and Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) on immigration enforcement matters. Announced in December of 2018 by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, the Immigrant Trust Directive effectively declared New Jersey a “sanctuary state.”

Effective last Friday, the directive prohibits state, county, and local law enforcement agencies, including police, prosecutors, county detectives, sheriff’s officers, and correction officers from doing the following:

  • Stop, question, arrest, search, or detain any individual based solely on actual or suspected immigration status;
  • Ask the immigration status of any individual, unless doing so is necessary to the ongoing investigation of a serious offense and relevant to the offense under investigation;
  • Participate in civil immigration enforcement operations conducted by ICE.
  • Provide ICE with access to state or local law enforcement resources, including equipment, office space, databases, or property, unless those resources are readily available to the public;
  • Allow ICE to interview an individual arrested on a criminal charge unless that person is advised of his or her right to a lawyer;
  • Assist unauthorized immigrants who are crime or human trafficking victims, or assisted in a criminal investigation, to apply for visa to remain in the United States, such as the S, T, and U nonimmigrant visas; or
  • Enter into agreements to assist ICE in New Jersey immigration enforcement operations.

Moreover, the Immigrant Trust Directive mandates any state, county, or local official to report to the Office of the Attorney General any instance in which the official assisted ICE.

Norris McLaughlin again reminds New Jersey immigrants and employers: the Immigrant Trust Directive does not prevent ICE from effectuating an arrest within New Jersey, opening new and expanding current ICE facilities in New Jersey, increasing the number of federal agents assigned to the state, or continuing to expand the worksite inspection program. Also, it does not confer any lawful immigration status.

If you have any questions about this post or any other immigration matter, feel free to contact me at

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