Many New Jersey residents have heard about immigration's 287g program but are often surprised to learn or find out too late that our own state has a working partnership with ICE, or Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The 287(g) program is essentially a partnership between ICE and state and local government, under which the Department of Homeland Security delegates limited immigration authorities and powers to local and state law enforcement. In fact, the Hudson County Department of Corrections and the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office in Freehold, New Jersey, both have Memorandums of Agreement to this effect. What does this mean practically? It means that ICE is able to spread its dragnet considerably further, in effect turning designated local and state enforcement officers into de facto immigration agents vested with powers and duties to investigate and act upon a suspect's immigration status. It is much more likely now that if an alien is incarcerated or put into a county jail in Freehold or somewhere in Hudson county, a corrections officer will inquire into his/her immigration status and possibly file paperwork to initiate that person's removal.
This is a chilling reminder that those whose immigration status is questionable ought to consult with a qualified immigration attorney to ascertain their rights. Once an alien becomes incarcerated and detained, access to and ability to work with counsel becomes hampered. It is not uncommon, for example, for ICE to place a detainer on someone and take custody of that person once his/her criminal case is finished; however, if the facility where the person being held is overcrowded, ICE may abruptly transfer him/her to another place. Our office had a situation many years ago where our client was transferred to Oakdale, Louisiana, even though he was initially detained in New Jersey. We eventually helped secure his release from detention, but it was challenging, to say the least.
The New Jersey immigration attorneys at Lee & Garasia, Attorneys at Law, help individuals with immigration issues and problems throughout New Jersey, including Union, Monmouth, Middlesex, Essex and Bergen counties. Call 732-516-1717 for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights.