New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal issued a new directive whereby he restricts police officers’ cooperation with ICE.  The move is intended to “build trust” between illegal aliens and the police.

ICE has responded with an announcement that there will be a “likely increase” in immigration raids in New Jersey.

WNYC reports:

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is drawing a thick line between local law enforcement and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, restricting police officers’ cooperation with ICE in an effort to build trust between cops and immigrants.

“Folks are now afraid to go to the courthouse, folks are now afraid to testify at trial, folks are afraid to go and report crime because they’re afraid that an ICE removal officer might sweep them up,” Grewal said in an interview with WNYC before his announcement of a new state directive. “And it’s that effect that all of these federal immigration policies have had that has prompted me to do this.”

Grewal’s sweeping directive forbids turning over immigrants charged with minor crimes to ICE, absent a warrant from a judge. Police, sheriff’s or corrections officers can notify ICE if someone charged with a serious crime, like rape, is being released from jail, but officers may only hold onto that person for ICE until the end of the day when he or she is due to be released.

ICE has responded by noting that this policy “undermines public safety and hinders ICE from performing its federally-mandated mission.”

Additionally, ICE notes that since arrests can no longer take place in jails, the agency will have no choice but to increase its “at large” arrests at residences and businesses.

WNYC continues:

The deputy director of ICE, Matthew Albence, slammed Grewal, saying his directive “undermines public safety and hinders ICE from performing its federally-mandated mission.”

“Ultimately, this directive shields certain criminal aliens, creating a state-sanctioned haven for those seeking to evade federal authorities, all at the expense of the safety and security of the very people the [New Jersey] Attorney General is charged with protecting,” Albence said in a statement.

ICE also noted that a man released earlier this year from Middlesex County Jail — despite a request to hold him for immigration violations — allegedly went on to murder three people in Missouri.

And ICE issued an ominous threat: Since arrests can no longer be made at jails, “ICE will have no choice but to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests.”

NBC New York has more:

A spokesman for the Newark office said in a statement Friday to NBC Philadelphia that New Jersey should expect increased arrests because of the new rules.

“The probability is that at large arrests and worksite enforcement operations, which already exist, will likely increase due to the fact that ICE ERO will no longer have the cooperation of the jails related to immigration enforcement,” ICE spokesman Emilio Dabul said in an email.

He added that since the agency’s “highest priority is public safety and enforcing immigration laws, we must pursue that to the best extent possible, which will likely involve more at large arrests and worksite enforcement operations.”

Grewal’s office reportedly responded to ICE’s statements: “We don’t respond to threats. We’re focused on protecting New Jersey’s residents from harm.”