Illegal immigrants in Hudson County, Bergen County and much of New Jersey could be under greater threat of apprehension and deportation, based on recent comments by the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting director.
Many counties and towns in northeastern New Jersey consider themselves “sanctuary cities” and have said, to varying degrees, they will refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities seeking to remove illegal immigrants.
Speaking before a House of Representatives subcommittee last week, ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan identified four categories of people most likely to be targeted for deportation:
- National security threats
- Those who have re-entered after previously being deported, and
- Those under a “Final Order of Deportation”
The first category may include those who plead guilty to “misdemeanor” charges (which typically carry sentences of no more than one year) as well as those convicted or pleading to “felonies.” It is for that reason, say several seasoned lawyers who’ve spoken with HudsonTV, that people who are “undocumented” and plead guilty to any crime face a risk of deportation as a result of their plea.
Homan said that “sanctuary cities” which refuse ICE detainers (which are requests to local police or prison authorities to hold an apprehended person until ICE agents can take custody) are “forcing their hand” because it is easier and safer for ICE to make those apprehensions in a controlled environment like a prison, than on the streets.
The ICE acting director also said illegal immigrants bore the blame for their status:
“The constant story about us separating families … when someone enters this country illegally, or someone overstays their visa, they know they’re in this country illegally . . . If they take it upon themselves to have a child in this country and becomes a US citizen by birth, he put his family in that position, not ICE, not Border Patrol. And to vilify the men and women of ICE as separating families is unfair.”
The acting director also charged that fearmonging about supposed raids was more the work of other parties, and not the government.