DOJ Joining Lawsuit Over New Jersey’s Immigrant Trust Directive


New Jersey Alliance For Immigrant Justice Responds to DOJ Joining Lawsuit Over New Jersey’s Immigrant Trust Directive 

NEW JERSEY -- January 27th, 2020-- In response to news of the Department of Justice (DOJ) joining a lawsuit against the New Jersey Attorney General over the Immigrant Trust Directive, Johanna Calle, director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice released the following statement,


“As the federal attacks on immigrants and immigrant families escalate, state and localities are drawing a clear distinction between federal immigration enforcement and local law enforcement like New Jersey has done with the Immigrant Trust directive. The Directive is helping local law enforcement work with immigrant communities. It allows police officers to focus on solving crimes in their jurisdiction rather than on an individual’s immigration status. Across the nation, data shows localities with similar trust policies have lower rates of crime.


“The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice and its member organizations continue to stand in support of New Jersey’s Immigrant Trust Directive. The Directive is especially important for victims and witnesses of crimes, who may be afraid to come forward due to fear of immigration consequences. This directive builds trust with immigrant communities by sending a strong message: regardless of your immigration status, you can seek help from your local law enforcement agency in New Jersey.”




Immigrant Rights Advocates Applaud Attorney General Grewal’s Termination of all 287(g) Agreements in New Jersey and Denounce the Addition of Harmful Carve-Outs To the Immigrant Trust Directive

Immigrant Rights Advocates Applaud Attorney General Grewal’s Termination of all 287(g) Agreements in New Jersey  and Denounce the Addition of Harmful Carve-Outs To the Immigrant Trust Directive

With the end of all 287(g) ICE deputization contracts, New Jersey continues to build trust with immigrant communities and improve public safety for all residents. However, the addition of policy carve-outs to the Immigrant Trust Directive goes against the intent of the directive.


NEW JERSEY -- September 27th, 2019 -- Today, New Jersey Attorney General Grewal directed all state, county and local law enforcement agencies to end all 287(g) agreements with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within seven days. 287(g) agreements deputize local law enforcement to perform civil immigration enforcement using local and state resources for federal purposes. The elimination of 287(g) agreements with ICE will increase public safety across the state by building trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement officers. Additionally, local and state law enforcement resources can be used to address local public safety rather than federal civil immigration enforcement. 


The announcement of the termination of all 287(g) ICE agreements statewide also came with changes to the Immigrant Trust directive including the addition of gun offenses and simple assault domestic violence to the list of serious crimes in which local law enforcement may alert immigration officials of an individual's immigration status. Advocates are continuing to urge the Attorney General to eliminate any exceptions that allow for local law enforcement to participate in immigration enforcement which only help ICE fill up detention centers and separate families in New Jersey. Regardless of immigration status, an individual should be allowed due process to prove their innocence or to serve their time. 


The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice and its members applaud the termination of all 287(g) agreements but urge the Attorney General to allow immigrants to have access to their constitutional right to due process.


Immigrant rights advocates released the following statements.


 Erika Nava, Policy Analyst at New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) said

"New Jersey's immigrants make major contributions to the state's communities and economy every single day. Now, more than two years into the Trump administration, immigrant families are at increased risk of being separated, detained, and deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), sometimes with the help of local law enforcement. Across the nation, the data shows communities are safer with policies that limit ICE enforcement, with crime lower in areas with fair and welcoming policies, with 35.5 fewer crimes per 10,000 people.”  


Nicole Miller, Legal Services Director, American Friends Service Committee -Immigrant Rights Project said,

“While we applaud the Attorney General’s decision to end 287g agreements in New Jersey, it is troubling that he has at the same time diluted the Immigrant Trust Directive and with that has eroded protections for immigrants.  It is the separation of families that undermines public safety. The detention centers in New Jersey and across the country are filled with people who have been torn from their families and communities by ICE.” 


Johanna Calle, director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice said,

“With the elimination of all  287(g) agreements, New Jersey stands as a leader in the nation for fair and welcoming policies that help keep families together and build trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement. Regardless of a person’s status or criminal charge, deportation, detention, and family separation do not bring justice.” 


Humberto Cantero, member of Make the Road Jersey who was detained for a year and separated from U.S. citizen children through a 287g program in Monmouth County said, 

“No one should be afraid that a simple traffic stop, like the one I experienced, will lead to detention and deportation. When police and corrections officers are deputized to do the work of ICE it undermines the trust that we in the community have for our local law enforcement officers. I was detained for a year after being stopped for a simple driving infraction in Monmouth.  By ending 287g programs in New Jersey, the Attorney General is making us all safer. On behalf of myself, my family, and members of Make the Road New Jersey, I thank the Attorney General for taking a stand and protecting New Jersey families like mine.” 


ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha said,

“Today in New Jersey, the line between local law enforcement and federal immigration priorities got even brighter. It isn’t an exaggeration to call our state’s abolition of 287(g) agreements groundbreaking through the lens of immigrants’ rights and public safety, not just in New Jersey, but throughout the United States. We also continue to believe that having exceptions to the directive and adding new carve-outs for certain offenses conflicts the Immigrant Trust Directive’s underlying intent: to clearly separate of local law enforcement duties from federal immigration functions. Above all, we know that everyone is safer when community members can approach law enforcement without fear that even a routine interaction could bring devastating consequences on themselves or their families.”


Brian Lozano, Community Organizer and Policy Director Wind of the Spirit,

“The fear of detention and separation of families  is at the forefront of our community’s minds. When our state government draws a line between what police are required to do and what they are not allowed to do, this not only helps law enforcement to build trust with the immigrant community, but it also helps community based organizations and state agency’s to do their jobs. When the state is explicit on these demarcations, there is a healthy ripple effect on other public projects and public sphere, such as census engagement and worker’s rights. Wind of the Spirit applauds the Attorney General and his office for making this Directive ever clearer.”




Latest Public Charge Rule Change is Racist

Latest Public Charge Rule Is A Racist, Anti-Immigrant Change to America’s Immigration Laws

Monday, August 12th, 2019-- This morning, the Trump administration posted the new public charge rule that is set to be published on the Federal Registrar on Wednesday, August 14th and to go into effect in 60 days on October 15th. The impacts of this rule change will affect all immigrants, specifically targeting permanent residents, and those applying for visas for entry to the U.S. The following is a statement from Johanna Calle, director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. 

“Further expanding public charge is another racist and anti-immigrant attack by the Trump administration on hard-working immigrants and their families. The Trump administration is sending the message yet again that immigrants are not welcome unless they are wealthy. 

“Most immigrants are already not eligible from accessing most public benefits and further expanding the ineligibility is just another cruel attack on immigrant families that will keep even eligible children from accessing needed services. This rule change further stokes fear in our communities and fans the flames of anti-immigrant myths that accuse immigrants of taking earned benefits they don’t deserve.

“Health care providers, service providers, and community leaders have spoken out against the chilling effects of the rule on the use of services, not just by immigrants but also their U.S. born children out of fear of exclusion from potential citizenship. The new rule impacts every aspect of immigrant life from English language proficiency to access to medical services. It creates a wealth burden on new immigrants that harkens back to the racist 19th-century immigration laws that excluded certain immigrants from entry based on race and nationality. The Trump administration is taking our policies backward into an explicitly racist era of American history. 

“Over the last ten months, since the public charge rule has been under consideration, reports indicate immigrants are already hindered from accessing and applying for necessary services. In New Jersey, immigrant communities and public agencies alike need education about how this impacts families in our communities. We call on New Jersey’s leadership to work to make sure every agency and service provider in the state knows how to address the changes in the public charge rule without discrimination based on immigration status.”


Honoring 32BJ President Héctor Figueroa

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice Statement Remembering and Honoring 32BJ President Héctor Figueroa

In honor of today’s remembrance and memorial for 32BJ President Héctor Figueroa, Johanna Calle, Director of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice shared the following statement,

“It is with a heavy heart that we offer our condolences to the friends and family of President Héctor Figueroa and to the 32BJ family for this great loss. Héctor’s leadership and commitment to justice cannot be forgotten and will live on in the advocacy of the countless people he inspired to stand up and fight for justice alongside him.” 


Secret Renewal of 287 (g) ICE Contracts

Immigrant Rights Advocates Denounce Monmouth, Cape May Counties' Secret Renewal of 287(g) ICE Contracts

287(g) ICE contracts deputize local law enforcement to do ICE’s bidding, drain limited local resources, and create barriers to building trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement officials.

New Jersey — (July 12th, 2019) In response to the uncovering of Monmouth and Cape May counties secretly renewing 287(g) contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), New Jersey immigrant rights and civil rights advocates released the following statements.

Chia-Chia Wang, Director of Advocacy and Organizing at American Friends Service Committee – Immigrants Rights Project said,

“287(g) is a highly flawed program that does not only hurt the trust relationship between immigrant communities and local law enforcement agencies, but leads to many deportations and family separation. Renewing 287(g) signals Cape May and Monmouth County officials’ continued desire to identify, detain and deport immigrants. We must hold them accountable and call for permanent end to 287(g) in New Jersey immediately.”

Kevin Escobar, Community Leader at Wind of the Spirit said,

“Our law enforcement officials are responsible for protecting and serving all of our communities, and the Attorney General’s directive ensures that our resources are used in a matter that accomplishes this. Our law enforcement is not required by law to do a federal agency’s job, and in fact their missions can often run counter to each other. The renewal of this type of non-mandatory, immigration contract not only erodes communication between immigrant communities and law enforcement, but also breaks up families. This leads to irreparable traumas and long term negative consequences for individuals and communities.”

Farrin Anello, Senior Staff Attorney with ACLU-NJ said,

“Renewing 287(g) agreements in secret, behind closed doors, not only denies the public its voice, but disregards the spirit of transparency outlined by the Attorney General’s Immigrant Trust Directive. We commend Attorney General Grewal for building trust between local law enforcement and immigrant communities. When counties use local resources to carry out the responsibilities of federal immigration agencies, everyone loses: the public becomes less safe, and the county becomes liable for unconstitutional detentions and other violations of civil rights. We will continue fighting to protect the civil rights of all New Jerseyans and to ensure that decisions as consequential as county contracts with ICE be considered openly, honestly, and with community input.”

Johanna Calle, Director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice said,

“The purpose of the Immigrant Trust Directive is to create trust between Law Enforcement and Immigrant communities. Many who fear reporting crimes or being witnesses in investigations. The renewal of these agreements, done seemingly in hiding from the public, only diminish the trust in law enforcement and the process by which they decided to enter into agreements that use local resources for the Trump administrations family separation efforts.”


New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice Denounces George Norcross' Anti-Immigrant Statements and Calls on New Jersey Leaders to Stand with Immigrants

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice Denounces George Norcross' Anti-Immigrant Statements and Calls on New Jersey Leaders to Stand With Immigrants

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice Denounces George Norcross’ Anti-Immigrant Statements and Calls on New Jersey Leaders to Stand With Immigrants

NEW JERSEY–(July 11th, 2019) In response to the recent Intercept article highlighting George Norcross’ anti-immigrant comments, Johanna Calle, director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice released the following statement,

“It is disconcerting to see such an influential figure espouse Trump’s political dogma and give air to anti-immigrant stereotypes calling undocumented immigrants “criminals” as a way to justify political calculus that ignores the dignity and humanity of immigrants. Dog whistle rhetoric cannot be a political tool to mobilize voters regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum. Unfortunately, that is exactly what President Trump continues to do and the political ideology Mr. Norcross is justifying.

“Mr. Norcross’, an influential political leader in New Jersey, use of language criminalizing immigrants feeds into Trump’s racist rhetoric and fear-mongering which has led to family separation and children in cages. Research has consistently shown that immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans. Undocumented immigrants are as much a part of New Jersey’s communities as any other immigrant. They are part of our families, our neighbors, and our classmates, contributing to our communities and take care of their families, just like any other New Jerseyan.  To say certain immigrants have to be treated as criminals is depriving hundreds of thousands of people in New Jersey the basic humanity and dignity that everyone deserves.

“New Jersey voters have gone to the polls to stand up against Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, any political calculus that doesn’t understand that is out of touch with the voters of our state. It is outrageous that our elected leaders who claim to be for immigrant families are affiliated with someone who believes these misconceptions about our families. Our communities are already fearful of what Trump is doing to further create chaos and panic for families and children. At this critical moment, we need every New Jersey leader to reject this hateful speech and show their support of immigrant families, not with talking points and lip service, but by passing inclusive policies that welcome all immigrants.”


NJ Alliance for Immigrant Justice Statement on ICE Raids

NJ Alliance for immigrant Justice Statement on ICE Raids

In response to the ICE raids targeting immigrants, NJAIJ releases the following statement.

Johanna Calle, director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice said,

“Trump is continuing to create chaos and panic for immigrant communities. Beginning Sunday, ICE is targeting families and teenagers to send to detention facilities that are already overcrowded. This is a continuation of this administration creating a crisis based on political calculus and wreaking havoc across the nation over the past few years.

“As the horrific reality of the Trump Administration’s policies at the border and in ICE detention facilities continues to come to light, we call New Jersey leaders to stand with our communities by rejecting anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. We cannot call ourselves a state of immigrants while some localities continue to profit off the detention of our families. New Jersey must affirmatively stand on the right side of history by implementing policies that allow immigrants regardless of status to live with dignity and protect their families such as providing legal representation and through the expansion of access to driver’s licenses to all.”


Governor Murphy Announces New Measures to Advance Immigrant and Refugee Integration

On Independence Day, Governor Murphy Announces New Measures to Advance Immigrant and Refugee Integration

In response to Governor Murphy’s announcement of two new initiatives to welcome immigrants and refugees, Johanna Calle, director of NJ Alliance of Immigrant Justice released the following statement,

“With these types of initiatives which welcome refugees and immigrants, the governor is showing the power of states to stand up to Trump’s racist anti-immigrant policies. As Trump renews his efforts to cause fear and panic for immigrant families and children, New Jersey policymakers can lead by implementing inclusive policies that protect immigrant families from Trump raids and ICE deportation. We look forward to supporting these efforts to ensure that the voices and experiences of immigrant and refugee communities are at the forefront of the implementation of these programs.”


Historic Vote on HR-6, Dream And Promise Act of 2019

 Advocates Call On State Legislators To Act On Wide-Ranging| Support For Immigrant Rights In New Jersey

New Jersey-- On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass HR-6 the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 which would allow Dreamers, DACA-recipients TPS holders, and those with DED a pathway towards permanent residency citizenship. In response, Johanna Calle, director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice offered the following statement:

"Today we celebrate this historic vote that gives hope to thousands of families in New Jersey who need protection from deportation and family separation. We thank and applaud every member of New Jersey's congressional house delegation for voting in favor of this bill that would keep families together and give hope to millions across the country."

"It is telling that every member of the New Jersey's congressional delegation voted in favor of HR-6, exemplifying the views of New Jerseyans and their support for keeping families together regardless of immigration status. While Congress continues to look for permanent solutions that will protect hundreds of thousands of people, we urge our state's leadership to do the right thing and support immigrant families here in our state. Legislators in Trenton can take note of the wide-ranging and bipartisan support of immigration reform policies and pass legislation to expand access to driver's licenses without further delay. Thousands of children and families in New Jersey are waiting on it."


Trump Administration’s Latest Attempt To Attack Immigrant Families By Gutting America’s Immigration and Asylum System

Immigrant Rights Advocates Condemn Trump Administration’s Latest Attempt To Attack Immigrant Families By Gutting America’s Immigration and Asylum System

In response to President Trump's announcement of the administration's latest plan to upend America's immigration system, Johanna Calle, director of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice released the following statement:

"This plan is a continuation of Stephen Miller's scheme to impose his white supremacist ideology on the American people with anti-immigrant and racist attacks by punishing immigrants and asylum seekers. While its claims to be fair, the administration is in fact proposing to severely decrease family-based immigration and asylum based migration which will keep families apart.

"Families will be separated longer, and asylum seekers will have less of a chance of gaining safety and security in the U.S, going against our humanitarian values. Additionally, this plan has no realistic solution for the many undocumented residents who are still waiting for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We call on Congress to strongly oppose any Trump/Miller plan by defunding ICE and CPB, the two agencies responsible for carrying out attacks on immigrant communities and by passing permanent protections for immigrant communities including DACA, TPS, and DED by supporting the Dream and Promise Act."