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Sheriff’s office seeks to extend ICE agreement after state requests justification

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Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden has expressed hope the state Division of Criminal Justice will recognize the value of the 287(g) program and agree to its continuance at the Monmouth County jail, Freehold Township.

According to the website www.ice.gov, the “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) 287(g) program enhances the safety and security of communities by creating partnerships with state and local law enforcement agencies to identify and remove aliens who are amenable to removal from the United States.

“The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 added Section 287(g) to the Immigration and Nationality Act. This section of law authorizes the director of ICE to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies that permit designated officers to perform limited immigration law enforcement functions.

“Agreements under section 287(g) require the local law enforcement officers to receive appropriate training and to function under the supervision of ICE officers,” according to the website.

A Memorandum of Agreement to extend the 287(g) program, which Golden said is highly  successful in the Corrections Division, went into effect on March 8, 2019, according to a July 10 press release from Golden.

That was prior to a directive from the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General and the receipt of a Division of Criminal Justice post facto memo, outlining guidelines on April 30, for continuation of the 287(g) program, according to the press release.

In response to a letter from the Department of Criminal Justice, dated July 8, the sheriff’s office and ICE will compile information and Golden said he is hopeful the program will continue.

“The 287(g) program has been in effect at the Monmouth County Correctional
Institution for nine years. The program is only instituted at the correctional facility on
incarcerated individuals (who are) brought to the jail by local law enforcement agencies,” Golden said. “It is highly regarded and essential, particularly in light of bail reform, as these individuals are charged with serious crimes.”

In 2018, a total of 7,845 inmates were processed at the county jail and 40 were found to be undocumented immigrants. Golden said that is nearly one-half of 1% who were turned over to ICE within a 24-hour time period.

Golden, a Republican who is the elected sheriff of Monmouth County, said the sheriff’s office has been a cooperative partner with federal, state and local agencies when protecting the public and ensuring safety.

He said law enforcement throughout Monmouth County never wants to be faced with a situation where a dangerous, undocumented immigrant is released from jail and poses a threat to a community.

In a letter to Veronica Allende, director, Division of Criminal Justice, State of New Jersey, Golden wrote, “Per your request, we will provide you with the requested documents and data from our agency, along with the assistance of ICE officials … who will help
compile information, by July 30, 2019.

” … In the spirit of your objective for our collective communities, the 287(g) program is not meant to undermine community trust since it is only implemented within the four walls of the correctional facility.

“In addition, I’m hopeful the state and ICE can come to terms regarding this issue. Cooperation from the federal, state and local levels is essential when protecting the public and ensuring that dangerous, undocumented immigrants are not released from jail in order to maintain the safety of our communities,” Golden wrote.

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