Federal immigration authorities criticized a New Jersey policy that bars local cops from enforcing civil immigration law.
Andrew Ford, @AndrewFordNews
ASBURY PARK, N.J. – After a twice-deported Honduran man was charged with the brutal strangulation murder of a Jersey City nanny, federal authorities have criticized New Jersey’s “limited cooperation” on immigration issues.
The federal rebuke came after the arrest of Jorge Rios, 33, who was charged in the death of Carolina Cano, 45, of Jersey City.
Cano was found dead in a lake in Lincoln Park in Jersey City on March 24, according to Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.
Rios, identified by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as Jorge Alberto Rios-Doblado, was previously removed from the United States for immigration violations in 2003 and 2004, according to ICE.
Rios was charged with felony murder, kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault, according to the prosecutor’s office.
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“ICE maintains that cooperation by local law enforcement is an indispensable component of promoting public safety,” the Newark ICE office said in a statement. “ICE will seek taking custody of Rios-Doblado at the conclusion of his criminal proceedings, despite limited cooperation in the state.”
Immigration officials were referring to a November directive issued by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal that barred state and local police from assisting federal immigration on authorities with “civil immigration law,” with some exceptions.
Grewal’s directive stressed that his policy didn’t stop officers from enforcing state law or pursuing crimes.
When asked about Rios, Grewal’s office pointed to comments he made to the state assembly budget committee on Wednesday.
Grewal explained the immigration directive was inspired by “overly zealous enforcement of immigration laws” by the federal government at sensitive places like schools, churches and courthouses, which Grewal said discouraged people from approaching the police to report crimes.
“Our job as state law enforcement officers is to enforce the criminal laws of this state and that’s all we told our law enforcement officers through that directive,” Grewal told state lawmakers who questioned the state’s immigration policy. “We don’t enforce civil immigration deportation orders.”
An ICE spokesman said it’s unknown when Rios returned to the United States and how he got here.
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