New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal released the LGBT Equality Directive instructing the state’s 38,000 law enforcement officers on how to deal with the LGTB community. The directive’s provisions include law enforcement cannot ask a person’s anatomy unless it’s necessary to an investigation, must use people’s chosen names even if that name does not appear on official documents, cannot question or detain someone for using a restroom “consistent with that person’s gender identity or expression” or conduct “invasive search procedures to determine a person’s genitals or assign gender”. Wouldn’t you or I be arrested for giving police a false name or information?
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.
Earlier this week ICE announced that it has arrested 54 people in New Jersey in an action targeting criminal illegal immigrants who were released from local law enforcement custody into the community instead of being transferred to ICE. Criminal illegal immigrants in New Jersey cannot be released to ICE custody due to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Immigrant Trust Directive. What was Attorney General Grewal’s response? To order New Jersey Sheriffs to end their agreements with ICE.
After voting in July to file a federal lawsuit against Governor Murphy’s administration over the Immigrant Trust Directive that prohibits state, county and local law enforcement agencies from cooperating with ICE in New Jersey the Ocean County Board of Freeholders filed the lawsuit against Attorney General Grewal and his office. The 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.
There is a question that New Jerseyans find themselves asking far too often. Why does Governor Murphy hate the Jersey Shore? First it was the $15 minimum wage and short term rental tax (even the repeal of the short term rental tax sat on Murphy’s desk for approximately 6 weeks with no action). Now Murphy has vetoed legislation that would have allocated $4 million a year to make repairs to the boardwalk in and around Wildwood. Murphy will not help tourism in New Jersey while he approves spending almost $8 million a year on college tuition for illegal immigrants and the legal defense of illegal immigrants facing detention or deportation. Murphy appears to be doing all he can to destroy tourism at the Jersey Shore. Meanwhile in 2016 tourism generated $32.2 billion of GDP representing 6.5% of the entire state economy. That same year tourism in New Jersey generated $4.9 billion in state and local tax revenues. How can our Governor not do all he can to protect this revenue stream?
I have found myself angry many times over the past 13-months since since Governor Murphy took office. There may not have been a time when I was more angry then this morning when I learned that New Jersey is 1 of 16 states that joined a lawsuit filed Monday against President Trump to block his emergency declaration to build the wall. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal who was appointed by Murphy said in a Tweet “The only emergency today is a President who refuses to adhere to the rule of law”. This of course coming from the AG who released his Immigrant Trust Directive last year making New Jersey a sanctuary state, refusing to cooperate with ICE and defying federal immigration law. Murphy even budged $2.1 million for the legal defense of illegal immigrants facing detention or deportation (monies to fight the federal government in its efforts to enforce federal law).
ICE has responded to the new sanctuary rules by New Jersey’s Attorney General with a threat of more immigration raids in New Jersey. ICE says it has no choice but to conduct more arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites in New Jersey. A representative of the ICE office in Newark told NBC News that ICE raids will “likely increase” as a result of the directive. “The probability is that at-large arrests and worksite enforcement operations, which already exist, will likely increase due to the fact that ICE will no longer have the cooperation of the jails related to immigration enforcement,” ICE spokesman Emilio Dabul added “the highest priority is public safety and enforcing immigration laws, we must pursue that to the best extent possible, which will likely involve more at-large arrests and worksite enforcement operations.” Attorney General Grewal has not responded.
We knew it was coming. Murphy campaigned on making New Jersey a sanctuary state. Just a couple of weeks ago Attorney General Grewal said he would hand down new sanctuary rules and directives on how New Jersey’s law enforcement agencies should interact with ICE. At the time I asked why New Jersey’s Governor and Attorney General do not feel they have to enforce the law. I also pointed out at the time that Murphy and Grewal’s refusal to cooperate with federal law enforcement to enforce immigration laws is costing the state $16 billion in federal funding. Today is the day New Jersey became a sanctuary state. Knowing it was coming doesn’t make my anger any less.