Programs

Immigrants’ Rights

Immigrants’ Rights

New Jersey has long been a destination for those seeking to build a new life in America, and the Attorney General’s Office has worked hard to make the state welcoming for people of all backgrounds.

  • Ensuring immigrants feel safe interacting with local police. In November 2018, the Attorney General issued the “Immigrant Trust Directive,” a landmark document designed to strengthen trust between law enforcement and state’s diverse immigrant communities. The Directive limits the types of voluntary assistance that New Jersey’s state and local law enforcement officers may provide to federal immigration authorities, including ICE, and emphasizes that New Jersey state, county, and local authorities are responsible for enforcement of criminal law, not federal civil immigration law. In doing so, the Directive makes clear that victims and witnesses can report crimes to law enforcement without fear that they will be turned over to federal immigration authorities.
  • Ending counterproductive 287(g) agreements. In September 2019, building on the success of the Immigrant Trust Directive, the Attorney General issued a supplemental statewide order prohibiting “287(g) agreements,” which allow ICE to deputize local law enforcement officers to perform civil immigration duties. In doing so, the Attorney General ensured a bright, clear line between federal immigration authorities and local law enforcement, strengthening public safety by building public trust.
  • Cracking down on “notario” fraud. The Division of Consumer Affairs has taken action against businesses that defraud consumers by offering immigration services they are not legally permitted to provide. In November 2018, the Division issued violation notices to more than two dozen businesses that allegedly engaged in “notario” fraud, in which a notary public takes advantage of Spanish-speaking consumers who believe that they are securing the services of an attorney or someone with special knowledge of immigration law and procedure.
  • Standing up for New Jersey’s 17,000 Dreamers. In Spring 2018, the state of Texas sued the federal government, demanding an immediate end to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which has provided legal protections to more than 700,000 Dreamers, including more than 17,000 in New Jersey. When the federal government refused to defend against Texas’s lawsuit, New Jersey took the lead and jumped into the fray—and won a crucial legal victory that blocked the immediate termination of DACA. And in Fall 2019, the State continued the fight by filing a brief in support for DACA’s legality before the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Pushing back against the anti-immigrant policies. In addition the DACA fight, the Attorney General’s Office has pushed back against a number of federal efforts to deny basic legal protections for immigrants. This includes lawsuits challenging proposals to allow the indefinite detention of immigrant children, place a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, separate families in detention, and construct a wall on the Southern border without Congressional approval.

Additional Resources

Immigrant Trust Directive

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