For Immediate Release – August 15th, 2014
Contact: Carlos Rojas, 732-372-1487, carlos@piconj.org

Faith and Immigrant Rights Organizations to Join with Union County Freeholders in Marking End to Policy which Unjustly Detains Undocumented Immigrants

The county joins a growing number of jurisdictions that have chosen to limit cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration enforcement, in an effort to protect families from deportation and restore the immigrant community’s trust in local police.


Elizabeth, NJ – Everyday immigrant families across the country live in fear of detention and deportation because of our immigration system.  In the face of congressional inaction, counties across the country are responding to senseless family separations by issuing policies that prevent families from being funneled into detention and promote trust between immigrant communities and police departments.

Union County is leading the way forward in New Jersey by refusing to honor requests from federal immigration enforcement to detain people who are suspected of being undocumented, unless a proper warrant or court order has been issued. “Our research, which included Third Circuit Court of Appeals decisions, concluded that it violates the rights of these people to detain them,” said Freeholder Vice Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh, who led the County effort to enact the policy change earlier this month.

Faith communities, immigrant rights organizations and the community at large applaud the Union County Freeholders’ decision to protect the rights of immigrant families residents of Union County.

“The Union County Freeholders have acted with good faith and justice towards the immigrant community,” said Pastor Ramon Collazo from St. Elizabeth’s Lutheran Church in Elizabeth. “As people of faith we are grounded in the call to welcome the stranger (Matthew 25:35) along with the commitment to justice that advocates for fair and generous laws.”  Pastor Collazo is one hundreds of faith leaders working with Faith in New Jersey (formerly PICO NJ), a statewide network of faith communities working together to expand and protect the rights of immigrant communities.

“We applaud Union County officials for recognizing the critical importance of fostering trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement,” said Ari Rosmarin, Public Policy Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey. “The county has taken a bold stance for immigrant communities and discontinued a practice that seriously undermined public safety, posed significant constitutional concerns, and exposed the county to significant liability. We hope and expect other New Jersey counties will follow Union’s lead in adopting similar policies.”

What:  Press Conference highlighting the Anti-Detainer Policy Change in Union County

Who:  Union County Freeholders, Immigrant Families, Faith and Social Justice Organizations

Where: Union County Administration Building – 6th Floor – Freeholder Meeting Room 10 Elizabethtown Plaza, Elizabeth, NJ 07207

When:   Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 – Press Conference Starts at 1 pm