Immigration officials last week arrested 105 people in New Jersey suspected of being in the country illegally, including four people with international criminal warrants.

This came the same week that state officials announced new rules on how local police will handle immigration matters.

ICE said the arrests had been planned before state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal released his directive, which the federal agency has criticized. The policy prevents police from inquiring about a person's immigration status unless it is relevant to an investigation. Jails also will not be allowed to detain inmates past their release date just because of an ICE request.

ICE once again called out the Middlesex County jail for releasing an inmate wanted by immigration authorities. As part of the sweep, they arrested a 25-year-old Guatemalan national in Jamesburg who was charged with aggravated assault. He had previously been deported. ICE said they requested that the jail detain the inmate until the agency could take him into custody but the jail "refused."

Last month, ICE faulted the county jail for releasing an inmate in December 2017 despite an ICE detainer request. The unauthorized immigrant went on to be charged with killing three people in Missouri on Nov. 1 and 2.

The new rules don't bar cops from cooperating with ICE on criminal investigations. Illegal immigration cases are considered matters of civil law.

The five-day sweep could be the tip of the iceberg if ICE holds true to its warnings that New Jersey's new policy will result in further raids in public places and worksites.

The new directive is supposed to make recent immigrants and those not authorized to be in the country comfortable cooperating with local police, which in turn will help authorities investigate and prosecute violent and dangerous crimes. But immigration advocates say ICE activity has stepped up since the directive was announced. Seth Kaper-Dale, a pastor in Highland Park and a former Green Party gubernatorial candidate, told NJTV news that his hotline got five calls this week from people reporting ICE activity in neighborhoods that hadn't seen immigration enforcement in months or years.

John Tsoukaris, field office director of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Newark, said in a statement Friday that his office's "focus has been and will continue to be on arrests of illegal aliens who have been convicted of serious crimes or those who pose a threat to public safety.”

The arrests were made in 16 counties: Atlantic (1), Bergen (4), Burlington (1), Camden (1), Essex (6), Gloucester (2), Hudson (24), Hunterdon (1), Mercer (12), Middlesex (10), Monmouth (14), Morris (3), Ocean (2), Passaic (11), Somerset (1) and Union (10).

Those arrested came from 24 countries: Brazil (6), Canada (1), Colombia (1), Costa Rica (1), Cuba (2), Dominican Republic (10), Ecuador (4), Egypt (1), El Salvador (8), Guatemala (13), Honduras (7), Jamaica (4), Korea (2), Mexico (28), Peru (4), Philippines (1), Poland (1), Russia (1), Serbia (1), Slovakia (2), Spain (1), Taiwan (1), Trinidad (1), and Venezuela (4).

ICE said most had criminal records including for sexual assault of a minor, child abuse, drug offenses, violent crimes, fraud, shoplifting and re-entering the country illegally.

  • In Palisades Park, they arrested a 59-year-old Korean national with an Interpol warrant for the crime of indecent acts by compulsion causing bodily injury, and a 44-year-old Korean national with an Interpol warrant to serve his sentence for the crime of distribution of psychotropic drugs.
  • In West New York, they arrested a 34-year-old Ecuadorian national with an Interpol warrant for fraud.
  • In Paterson, they arrested a 54-year-old Russian national with an Interpol warrant for fraud.
  • In Union City, the arrested a 35-year-old Ecuadorian national convicted of forcible touching on a child, and a 52-year-old Mexican national convicted of prostituting a child.
  • In Jersey City, they arrested a 35-year-old Venezuelan national convicted of drug dealing, and a 41-year-old Taiwanese national convicted for extortion and bank fraud
  • In New Brunswick, they arrested a 34-year-old Honduran national convicted of child endangerment, a 48-year-old Jamaican national convicted for robbery conspiracy, and a 19-year-old Mexican national who is a member of the 18th street gang.
  • In Bayonne, they arrested a 43-year-old Canadian national convicted drug dealing on school grounds.
  • In Toms River, they arrested a 28-year-old Egyptian national with three drug convictions.
  • In Atlantic City, they arrested a 38-year-old Cuban national convicted of aggravated criminal sexual contact.
  • In Freehold, they arrested a 28-year-old El Salvadorian national and member of MS-13.
  • In Newark, they arrested a 31-year-old Mexican national and member of the Surenos-13th street gang.

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