A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by two counties that challenged a state directive limiting law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson issued her ruling Wednesday, finding that the restrictions did not violate federal law.
The Immigrant Trust Directive, which was announced in November 2018 but went into effect the following March, bars officers from taking part in federal immigration operations. State and local officers are also barred from questioning or arresting anyone based solely on suspected immigration status or asking a person’s immigration status unless it’s necessary in investigating a serious offense.
The U.S. Justice Department had backed the sheriff's of Cape May and Ocean counties in their suit. Officials had argued that barring state and local officials from providing information about people illegally in the country conflicts with the federal government’s “statutorily granted powers.”
State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal praised Wolfson's ruling, noting "New Jersey has the authority to draw a clear, bright line between the work of state law enforcement officers and federal civil immigration officers.
A spokesman for Cape May’s sheriff said they were reviewing Wolfson's decision, while Ocean County officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.