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Victory! Newark Refuses to Comply with ICE

Last week, the City of Newark, NJ became the latest jurisdiction in the country to refuse to hand over individuals arrested for minor offenses, to federal immigration officials. The groundbreaking policy change was instituted by Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio and means the Newark Police Department will no longer honor the federal Immigration Custom and Enforcement agency’s (ICE) requests for individuals held for minor offenses. Newark joins a growing number of jurisdictions, including New York City, Connecticut, Chicago, Los Angeles, Massachusetts, and New Orleans, that have chosen to significantly limit collaboration between their local law enforcement and ICE.

Newark’s directive is the broadest and most inclusive of the local detainer policies to date, offering protection from ICE detention to all immigrants. Also, the new policy does not discriminate on the basis of past criminal convictions. We hope the Newark policy will serve as a model for the rest of New Jersey, and for cities around the country who do not want local resources being spent on draconian enforcement of unjust federal immigration laws.

The Center for Popular Democracy celebrates this victory with a coalition of civil rights and faith leaders, including New Jersey Communities United, American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, American Friends Service Committee Immigrant Rights Program, Newark Archdiocese Department of Social Concerns, St. James Church, SEIU 32BJ, St. Lucy 's Church, St. Anne's Church, Church of the Transfiguration, and New Labor. We worked closely with our partners to develop campaign strategy and policy to keep immigrant families united.

CPD has been promoting “detainer discretion” policies across the nation, including the recent successful passage of the Connecticut TRUST Act which was the first statewide law to prohibit local law enforcement detaining immigrants at the request of ICE. In addition to protecting thousands of families from being torn apart by needless detentions and deportations, the goal of the detainer discretion effort is to use grassroots organizing and policy reform to create pressure and urgency for national change with respect to immigration policy.