Law & Justice

ICE Claims County Put Residents at Risk; Middlesex Fires Back

Demonstrators march through New Brunswick last month, rallying for stronger protections for undocumented immigrants.

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — The day before county freeholders adopted a policy limiting jail and sheriff’s department staffers’ interactions with immigration authorities, the federal agency responsible for overseeing deportations blasted Middlesex for not complying with requests for assistance.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a division of Homeland Security, published a press release on May 31 touting the arrests of two undocumented immigrants. The announcement noted that Middlesex County had declined to keep the men in custody, as called for by ICE agents.

The Board of Chosen Freeholders adopted a policy the following day, June 1, stating that its officers would only accommodate ICE’s requests for 48-hour detentions of suspected undocumented immigrants if a judge had signed a warrant or the individual had previously been convicted of a first- or second-degree “serious offense,” according to the document.

Sign Up for E-News

Pro-immigrant activists and county officials have spent much of this year discussing and tweaking the policy.

Activists have claimed the policy would safeguard human rights and build trust in immigrant communities, like New Brunswick. Middlesex County, meanwhile, argued the move would build protections against lawsuits.

But in the press release, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations Newark field office director, John Tsoukaris, posed a counter-argument.

“ICE shares the county’s ultimate objective to protect public safety and national security while simultaneously preserving the critical community-police bond,” he said. “However, counties such as Middlesex that fail to work with ICE in the transfer of custody of criminal aliens place the citizens of their communities at serious risk.”

Freeholder Director Ronald Rios told TAPinto New Brunswick that the county is indeed “dedicated” to keeping residents safe. He noted that Middlesex’s policy is in compliance with “all” state and federal laws.

“The ICE statement is just rhetoric,” he said. “We are here to serve the public, and we do so by following the law, not by reacting to political grandstanding by ICE, which is trying to strike fear into residents’ minds.”

ICE’s announcement stemmed from the arrests of a man from Mexico and another from Honduras.

The agency requested on April 14, 2016, that the county hold Elder Antonio Quintero Rodriguez, of Honduras, for ICE, according to the press release. The county jail released him on May 19 this year “without notifying ICE,” the agency said.

ICE noted that Quintero Rodriguez was previously convicted of neglecting a child. It wasn’t immediately clear if that crime is considered serious enough under the new policy to allow Middlesex County staffers to hand off the man to the feds.

ICE agents arrested him on May 30 in New Brunswick, they said.

On April 21, immigration agents requested a detainer from the county for Rolando Herrera Saaverda, of Mexico, according to the announcement. The jail discharged him on April 29, once again without tipping off ICE, the agency said.

That man is facing “state criminal charges,” according to ICE. Under the county’s new policy, officers and jail staff would not comply with an ICE request to hold an individual with pending charges.

Herrera Saaverda was later arrested by ICE in Long Branch.

Both men remain in ICE custody, “pending removal proceedings,” according to the agency.

“As a nation, we must protect the integrity of our immigration system and aggressively pursue the removal illegal criminal aliens,” Tsoukaris, the ICE director, said.

County officials, meanwhile, have received applause for their policy. What’s more, activists have called for the county to cement even stronger protections against ICE for undocumented immigrants.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


East Brunswick: I Don't Wanna Close Up, I'm a Toys-R-Us Kid

March 16, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - East Brunswick used to be the home of Meyer's toy store, an almost idyllic wonderland of all sorts of Barbies, parts for swimming pools, and clanging model trains until it closed in 2002.  Kay-Bee toy store was a popular stop at the Brunswick Square Mall until 2009, with a salesperson often displaying the newest gadget outside its door, causing eager kids ...


Piscataway – Reinhard Rudolf Kiefer, 85, died Sunday March 11, 2018 at home. Born in ...
Read more
Piscataway, NJ – Manuela Cruz, 94, born July 17, 1923, passed away peacefully on March 8, ...
Read more

Middlesex County Young Republicans Host "Road to Victory" Event at the Green Turtle

March 21, 2018

NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ -  Middlesex County Young Republican Chairman John Steiner would like to announce the Middlesex County Young Republicans "Road to Victory" Reception, which will take place on March 22 at the Green Turtle in North Brunswick from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM.

This event will serve as the official launch for the 2018 campaign season for the Middlesex ...

ECSNJ Partnership with Rutgers Behavioral Health Helps Students Manage Life’s Challenges

PISCATAWAY, NJ – A collaboration with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care is providing more behavioral and emotional support for students attending two Educational Services Commission of New Jersey (ESCNJ) schools.

Appearing on ESCNJ’s Better Together podcast, Assistant Superintendent Gary Molenaar said Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care “is a recognized ...

Piscataway Libraries Host Annual NJ Makers Day Program

PISCATAWAY, NJ – The Piscataway Public Libraries were once again hosts to dozens of “makers” for the 4th Annual NJ Makers Day celebration.

The Saturday events at the Kennedy and Westergard Libraries featured activities and demonstrations by members of the maker culture with a focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) initiatives.

Among other ...

NCAA Tournament: Heilmann and DelVecchio Both Secure All-American Honors; Suriano Becomes Rutgers' First-Ever Finalist

CLEVELAND, OH -The senior class of South Plainfield High School’s “Murderer’s Row”, the 2013 team that earned a group title, two individual state titles, and produced five state placewinners, knows a thing or two about making wrestling history. The 2018 NCAA wrestling tournament marks the last time two standouts from 2013 team, Troy Heilmann and Scott DelVecchio, will ...

Pre-Ticket Sale for Holy Savior Academy’s 4th Annual Spring Splendor Tricky Tray

Holy Savior Academy is hosting its Spring Splendor Tricky Tray Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the school.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are limited and will be sold at Holy Savior Academy, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (cash or checks)

BYOB and food- Admission $ 25 per ...

Upcoming Events


Thu, March 22, 5:30 PM

Piscataway High School, Piscataway

Going for the Gold Culinary Event

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM


The Basics of Starting a Business

Business & Finance

Fri, March 23, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey , New Brunswick

Motown the Musical

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, March 24, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey , New Brunswick

Motown the Musical

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, March 25, 8:00 AM

St. Francis Episcopal Church, Dunellen

Palm Sunday

Religions And Spirituality

Springfield Fire Department Delivers Baby on West I-78

March 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - On March 20, 2018 at 8:14 a.m. the Springfield Fire Department was dispatched to Route 78 Westbound near milepost 50.2 for a report of a woman in labor on the side of the road.  

Captain Mastroeni (Unit 2) & Chief Palumbo (Unit 1) were the first units to arrive on scene, and quickly recognized that the woman would be unable to make it to the hospital in time for ...

Coffee, Tea or Fleas?

Two ducks are on a flight to Miami.  The first duck says to the second, “you flying south for the winter?”  The second duck replies, “Oh wow, a talking emotional support duck!”


Pa rum pum.


There have been a lot of news stories lately about animals traveling on airplanes.  Some are humorous, like the woman who recently tried to bring ...