The AG is out of control — time to fight back (Opinion)
There is no longer a middle ground between the position taken by New Jersey's Attorney General and those of us concerned with public safety and the protecting the lives of Law Enforcement. Gurbir Grewal has taken the radical step of essentially putting criminal aliens in the same category as so-called dreamers. He's done this by elevating accused predators to the same level as an undocumented restaurant worker providing for his family. He speaks of diversity and inclusion of all immigrants drawing no distinction between legal and illegal residents. He's even invoked the old definition of 'sanctuary cities' first championed by NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
His latest "Immigrant Trust Directive" prohibits local LEOs from working with the Federal Officers even when it comes to holding potentially violent criminals and has led directly to the release of dangerous people who should have remained in jail.
Under the old definition, even I thought sanctuary cities could make sense when based on smart policies that supported cops and medical professionals. Rudy had a simple policy as New York City Mayor. The NYPD was not going to question a person's citizenship when they reported a crime. The obvious reason is so that crime victims would come forward and violent offenders would be taken off the streets.
The second part of Rudy's plan was to allow medical professionals to treat injured and sick victims without fear of exposing immigration status. During the 2008 presidential campaign, I was a surrogate speaker for Rudy in New Jersey. You can imagine the reaction I got from conservative groups including getting heckled and booed as I defended the moderate to liberal stance taken by the Mayor. But it was practical, logical and after all Rudy was the one who literally cleaned up Times Square and the rest of the city from the do-nothing Democrats who ran the Big Apple into the ground. Remember what Times Square was like before Rudy?
The AG's directive has put everyone in a bad spot, especially local law enforcement and illegal immigrants who haven't committed other crimes. By allowing for the release of violent offenders, Grewal is acting as if the detention of those criminals is somehow a violation of human rights. That somehow the rhetoric we're hearing about the detention centers and the role of ICE is so scary that we have to release an accused child rapist. No cop in New Jersey wants to let a violent offender back on the street. It's why so many cops fought against bail reform, which continued the narrative that it's the criminals who are the real victims, not the victims of their crimes.
Grewal is misleading the public by portraying his directive as a similar plan to what worked in New York City in the 1990s. Grewal's plan is so aggressive that by it's very design, the safety of LEOs both locally and at the federal level is compromised.
Instead of pulling together coalition of community leaders, county and local law enforcement, Grewal acted from the ideological position that the Trump administration is the enemy and he was the 'champion' to fight them. The resulting policy deprives law enforcement in New Jersey to cooperate with ICE and has led directly to the release of predators. Stopping the county jails from housing detainees while ICE makes preparations to collect them is just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, he has cut off the elected sheriffs at their knees, scolding them and demanding compliance, which has sent a chill through the law enforcement community. He covers his egregious behavior by using Col. Patrick Callahan, the hero who leads out NJ State Troopers, as a prop during his press conference.
On two occasions now, he has issued a directive in his role as the AG, declaring that law enforcement agencies around the state are prohibited with cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement against and their mission. This extends to violent criminals as the AG specifies that local authorities MAY alert ICE of a pending release but they will not maintain custody of that person past 11:59pm on the day of scheduled release...
The directive prohibits police and correction officers from continuing to hold a detained individual arrested for a minor criminal offense past the time he or she would otherwise be released from custody simply because ICE has submitted an immigration detainer request signed by an ICE officer, and prohibits notification to ICE of such an individual’s upcoming release.
With respect to detainees charged with violent or serious offenses such as murder, rape, arson, assault, bias crimes, and domestic violence offenses, New Jersey law enforcement and correction officials may notify ICE of the detainee’s upcoming release, but may continue to detain the individual only until 11:59 p.m. that day.
The practical reality of this directive is the release of potentially violent offenders, including a man last week accused of raping a child, into our communities.
Immigration and Custom Enforcement has a tough enough mission to complete keeping our neighborhoods safe from criminal aliens. Now in addition to the violence and uncertainty these brace ICE officers face, they have to attempt to enforce detainers while being thwarted by sanctuary states like New Jersey.
Our AG is purposefully obstructing the legal job ICE is trying to perform. Some have argued that the releases are a direct result of New Jersey's bail reform, which the politicians will tell you is working, but some of the recent news about drug overdoses, child porn and murder may have you rethinking that the reality is that bail reform, regardless of the statistics used by the stakeholder has resulted in some terrible and preventable crimes by released inmates.
Given these facts, ICE is a safety net for our communities. When a criminal is set to be released, they can remain jailed with the legal detainer from ICE. And as a resident and a parent, I know I'd sleep better knowing that the feds will pick up where NJ is failing. But since the move by Grewal, that security has dissipated.
News rooms around the state are surely working furiously to find some alternative facts in order to support the AG's position and placing blame on ICE. This is an outrage to any thinking person who worries about the safety of their family and the safety of our law enforcement officers.
The Cumberland County officials who let the accused child sexual predator free blame ICE over when the detainer was actually delivered, if at all. What?!? You've got a man who you know is an illegal alien and you have him held for allegedly raping a child. If releasing him is the answer, then surely the question is flawed. Blaming anyone but your own incompetence and refusal to stand up to a bad order is beyond the pale. This is where a thinking person would contact ICE and tell them to come and get the perp.
Now I understand that the Cumberland County government is in a tough spot. The AG has threatened local law enforcement and many cops are nervous that they will lose their job if they push back. Thankfully, the Sheriffs in Cape May and Monmouth Counties have the guts to publicly push back.
Thankfully the freeholders in Ocean County are preparing to sue the AG over the issue. Many other political voices are rising to the occasion and pushing back on this unlawful directive from Grewal.
The AG is in an all-out ego and ideology driven war with the Trump administration. Caught in the crossfire? Local cops and the families who should have a reasonable expectation that an accused child rapist is going to be set free. As far as bail reform, which was supposed to even the playing field, far from it. All that has happened is your family is in greater danger because of politicians like Grewal who value the criminal over the cops and the community.
The bottom line is that most of us in New Jersey are moderate on the immigration issue. We'd like to see a pathway for truly undocumented immigrants. The 'dreamers' brought here as kids. Those that escaped horrific crime and poverty and then could make enough money to afford the legal expense of staying here. We should be working together to help those people. But that can't happen as long as Grewal and his cronies are in charge.
They are the ones who lump every illegal immigrant under the same category. They are the ones forcing the release of violent perpetrators and accused rapists and murderers back into our communities. They are the ones who have compromised law enforcement forcing manhunts for released criminals who should've simply stayed in custody.
So until we have a regime change in Trenton, better one hundred dreamers deported than one more accused child rapist set free. You can help. See something, say something. Call (866) DHD-2-ICE.
Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015. Tweet him @NJ1015 or @BillSpadea. The opinions expressed here are solely those of Bill Spadea.
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