JACKSON — The Township Council has thrown its support behind a lawsuit challenging the state's Immigrant Trust Directive concerning cooperation with federal authorities.

The Ocean County Board of Freeholders in July first explored filing such a suit against Gov. Phil Murphy's administration in federal court over immigration law enforcement policies that critics say turn New Jersey into a "sanctuary state."

The board then authorized the lawsuit at its Aug. 7 meeting.

The suit challenges legality of the directive issued by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, which limits voluntary assistance between law enforcement officers and federal immigration authorities, including ICE agents.

Within Ocean County, nine other municipalities also have passed resolutions supporting the lawsuit: Lavallette, Plumsted, Long Beach, Bay Head, Ocean, Lacey, Barnegat, Stafford and Berkeley, according to assistant County Administrator Michael Fiure.

Warren County freeholders on Aug. 28 offered its support to Ocean County's lawsuit, unanimously passing a resolution, according to LehighValleyLive.com.

In Middlesex County, the Old Bridge Township Council voted on Aug. 5 authorizing the township's attorney to investigate their own legal action against the state.

Other counties also have pushed back against the directive, which took effect in March.

Cape May and Monmouth counties renewed contracts with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help screen and identify inmates who violate civil immigration laws, and Sussex County is seeking a non-binding voter referendum on the issue.

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