BRIDGETON — The Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office will host an informational session Thursday about a state Attorney General’s Office directive that aims to build trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities.

The program, scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Parish of the Holy Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, 46 Central Ave., will focus on the Immigrant Trust Directive. The directive aims to keep separate the role of local and state law enforcement from federal immigration authorities and goes into effect March 15, according to a news release from the Attorney General’s Office.

The program will be delivered in Spanish due to the county’s large Spanish-speaking immigrant population, said Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae.

The directive is “intended to draw a clear line between the responsibility of New Jersey’s 36,000 law-enforcement officers to enforce state criminal laws and the responsibility of federal immigration authorities to enforce federal civil immigration law,” according to the release, and “seeks to ensure that immigrants feel safe reporting crimes to New Jersey law-enforcement officers.”

The directive mandates that law-enforcement officers cannot stop, question, arrest, search or detain anyone based solely on their actual or suspected immigration status, and cannot ask the immigration status of anyone, unless it’s necessary to the investigation, among other orders included in the directive.

“We know from experience that individuals are far less likely to report a crime to the local police if they fear that the responding officer will turn them over to federal immigration authorities,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. “That fear makes it more difficult for officers to solve crimes and bring suspects to justice.”

More information on the directive can be found at nj.gov/trust.

Contact: 609-272-7241 Mbilinski@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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