On Tuesday Cape May County became the second county to file a lawsuit against New Jersey Attorney General Grewal’s office over his 2018 Immigrant Trust Directive. The suit filed by Cape May County Sheriff Robert Nolan challenges the constitutionality of the directive and seeks declaratory and injunctive relief from the court that would prevent the Attorney General from enforcing the terms of his directive.
The lawsuit asks the court to invalidate the Attorney General’s directive claiming that the directive is invalid because it violates the supremacy clause of the Constitution, that federal law preempts the directive because federal law has clear and preemptive authority concerning immigration law and that the directive violates rules and procedures required by the New Jersey Administrative Procedures Act. The complaint argues that the directive places “county residents and visitors at risk” while forcing Cape May County Sheriff Nolan to violate his oath to uphold the Constitution.
In September the Ocean County Board of Freeholders filed a lawsuit against Grewal and his office. The Ocean County Board of Freeholders is seeking a declaration that Grewal’s Immigrant Trust Directive exceeds the lawful scope of his authority and is preempted by the federal government’s exclusive authority to regulate and enforce immigration laws. It also seeks a declaration that the attorney general lacks authority to regulate the county’s sharing of inmate information with law enforcement agencies.
Grewal’s Immigrant Trust Directive states that New Jersey law enforcement officers cannot cooperate with ICE, turn illegal immigrants over to federal law enforcement officers for deportation or 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. ICE is not to be provided access to state or local law enforcement resources including equipment, office space, databases or property.
In July Cape May County Sheriff Nolan and Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden were accused by Grewal’s office of cooperating with federal immigration officials in their effort to capture and deport illegal immigrants in violation of the directive Grewal issued.
Sussex County Sheriff Mike Strada has said that he will he will notify immigration authorities and hold immigration inmates until federal officials pick them up and has requested assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
New Jersey State Senate candidate Michael Testa, one of two Attorneys involved in filing Sheriff Nolan’s lawsuit released a statement saying “The fact that Senator Andrzejczak never picked up the phone, called Sheriff Nolan, and offered his help in this matter is embarrassing. That’s his job! Being Senator isn’t about issuing press releases and letting your staff speak for you. It about taking action and advocating on behalf of your constituents. This Sanctuary State directive and Phil Murphy’s radical liberal agenda are a direct threat to public safety and we need a Senator willing to push back and do everything in his or her power to defend our communities. Senator Andrzejczak simply has not done that on this issue or countless others. He is voting with Phil Murphy’s agenda 95% of the time. Sending out a random press release complaining about the Governor isn’t independence; it’s window dressing.”
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