Attorney general: County sheriffs violated Immigrant Trust Directive

Monmouth and Cape May Counties failed to inform the attorney general that they had renewed cooperation agreements with ICE, a move the Attorney General’s Office says is a clear violation of a state directive.

Last November, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal issued the Immigrant Trust Directive, which was aimed at limiting voluntary cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities, including ICE. The directive went into effect in March.

On Monday, officials from the Attorney General’s Office sent letters to Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden and Cape May County Sheriff Robert Nolan after learning they had renewed existing agreements with ICE under the 287(g) program, which allows local police officers to enforce federal immigration law.

While the directive does not ban participation in the program, it prohibits local law enforcement from entering into or renewing contracts with ICE “unless the Attorney General granted written approval or the agreement was necessary to address a national emergency.”

“The fact that no one in your office ever notified the Attorney General’s Office,” both letters read, “suggests that you deliberately declined to disclose this information.”

Requests for comment from both sheriffs’ offices were not immediately returned.

The Attorney General’s Office is giving the counties until Aug. 6 to provide information that proves their participation in 287(g) “serves a valid law enforcement purpose.” Otherwise, the letter reads, the counties will be prohibited from cooperating with ICE.