Government

ICE Claims Middlesex County Put Residents at Risk; Middlesex Fires Back

c89dfe600c4e8d571163_may_day_immigrant_march.jpg
Demonstrators march through New Brunswick last month, rallying for stronger protections for undocumented immigrants.
c89dfe600c4e8d571163_may_day_immigrant_march.jpg

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:

Sign Up for E-News

Plainfield

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_5805f638cda07d25a384_pool_openings_2018

Sat, June 23, 12:00 PM

Rushmore Pool, Plainfield

Pool Openings: Rushmore

Community Calendar Sports

Carousel_image_f27b8aa555275dc0b347_sip_of_summer

Sat, June 23, 4:00 PM

Plainfield Art Lofts, Plainfield

4th Annual Wine Tasting Event "Sip of Summer"

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

Carousel_image_0c270f4981549b8a5dff_ducret_june_24_sale

Sun, June 24, 12:00 PM

Plainfield

duCret School of Art and LWV Art Sale

Register Today for Summer Youth Courses Offered at Union County College

June 23, 2018

CRANFORD, NJ – This summer the Office of Continuing Education at Union County College is expanding its course offerings for youth ages 11-18. Classes are taught by NJ-certified teachers and subject matter experts that specialize in delivering high-quality youth programs. Classes begin the week of June 25 and run through August 23.

Classes offered include Introduction to Musical Theater, ...

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 9, 2018

Dear Editor:

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by ...

Murphy Signs Bill Ending Child Marriage Championed by Westfield’s Fraidy Reiss and Unchained at Last

June 23, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill Friday that bars individuals under the age of 18 from marrying or entering a civil union. It was a major win for Fraidy Reiss, founder Westfield-based Unchained At Last, a nonprofit dedicated to helping women and girls in the US to escape or resist arranged/forced marriages and rebuild their lives.

This makes New Jersey the second ...

SRO'S - ENSEÑANDO POR EJEMPLO

June 17, 2018

Hay un grupo de oficiales de policía que les dan un servicio a nuestra comunidad de una manera notable. Todos los días estos hombres y mujeres se levantan, van al trabajo, y aseguran que nuestros hijos aprendan en un ambiente seguro. Los llamamos Oficiales de Recursos Escolares, pero son mucho más. 

Si llegas a la oficina de los Oficiales de Recursos Escolares en la ...

Empleando Nuestra Juventud 

Querido Plainfield, 

Todos esperan el verano; los días son más calientes y largos, y la madre tierra se pone su mejor vestido mientras las frutas se maduran en el sol y las flores ondean un alegre "hola". La gente comienzan los paseos de la playa o piscina, y las juntas de barbacoa en los patios son necesarios en los fines de semanas.

Aquí en la ciudad de ...

Meet Toran Smith: Union County All Star

June 18, 2018

Plainfield resident, Toran Smith, age 16, has been selected to play on the 2018 Union County underclassmen all star team.  On June 10th, the Union County All-Stars played against the Hudson County All-Stars at Kean University.  Smith played third baseman. 

Smith, a junior at Union County Vo-Tech magnet high school, is a Junior infielder on the Plainfield Cardinals Varsity ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

'Half Time' lights up Paper Mill stage

‘Half Time’ turns the tables on aging in gleeful production

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly (Naval Institute Press, 2015)

Victoria Kelly's first published volume of poetry, When the Men Go Off to War, is a wonder in that poems can be written so beautifully about the subject of war. Each poem is a jewel, polished and colorful, glittering with elegant imagery, and rich in emotional wallop. The book, divided into three sections, ...

The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2005)

            The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times best selling author, was recommended to me by a young woman who actually came from the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, the place where the novel is set. “The author did such a wonderful job of describing how the town actually is,” said the young lady.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...

The Man in Room 306 at the Luna Stage, West Orange, NJ

            The Luna Stage, a Jersey theater gem, chose to revive its 1995 world premiere drama, The Man in Room 306, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the slaying of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Starring Jamil A.C. Mangan as Dr. King, this 90 minute production portrays Dr. King in the last hours of his life as he struggles to write a speech for the Poor ...

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (Riverhead Books, 2017)

 

I wanted to like Into the Water by Paula Hawkins because I had enjoyed her previous novel, The Girl on the Train, which was a suspenseful thriller. However, when I finished reading the first part of the Into the Water, I realized that I had not absorbed anything that was happening in the story. I blamed myself for not paying ...