County Sheriff Sues State AG Over Immigration Dispute

County Sheriff Sues State AG Over Immigration Dispute

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Cape May County Sheriff Bob Nolan, seen speaking at a 9/11 commemoration ceremony in Sea Isle City, is at odds with New Jersey's attorney general.

Cape May County Sheriff Robert Nolan and the County of Cape May government has filed a lawsuit in United States District Court against the Attorney General of New Jersey over the 287 (g) agreement being terminated.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal issued Directive 2018-6, known as the Immigration Trust Directive, which prohibits local law enforcement agencies from cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), as well as voluntarily participating in the 287 (g) program.

The 287 (g) Program allows ICE to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies to permit designated officers to perform limited immigration law functions.

The agreement that Sheriff Nolan had with ICE pertained only to individuals who entered the Cape May County Jail. The Directive puts the public safety of Cape May County at risk by selectively restricting the Sheriff’s Communication and cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

“We tried to work with the Attorney General’s office to show the State why this Program is so important,” said Nolan. “We have been left with no other option than to take this matter to court. I thank so many of the residents of Cape May County who have voiced their support to me.”

The lawsuit challenges the Attorney General’s authority to preempt the exclusive governance of the federal government with regard to immigration. It challenges the Directive’s impermissible interference with Nolan’s voluntary communication and cooperation with federal immigration officials.

Further, it challenges the validity of the Directive as it was issued without due process and impermissibly interferes with a legal contract entered by the Cape May County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Homeland Security.

“Since the issues with the Attorney General’s Office began, I have pledged my support to Sheriff Nolan,” said Cape May County Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton. “We plan to take this issue as far as we can legally to ensure that Cape May County residents are protected.”