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Trump administration ‘does not have the facts on their side’ in immigration suit, Murphy says

N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy delivers his second State of the State address in Trenton on January 14, 2020. (Edwin J. Torres/ Governor's Office)

N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy delivers his second State of the State address in Trenton on January 14, 2020. (Edwin J. Torres/ Governor's Office)

Gov. Phil Murphy said New Jersey is ready to go to court with the Trump administration over the state’s Immigrant Trust Directive, which limits cooperation between local and state law enforcement and federal immigration authorities.

On Monday, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the Murphy administration over the policy, which it says is unconstitutional.

“We will defend our position with great vigor, in particular on behalf of public safety,” Murphy said at a press conference on Tuesday. “The other side of the argument does not have the facts on their side.”

Murphy and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal have argued that it is important to draw a clear line between criminal investigators in New Jersey and federal civil immigration officials, so that immigrant communities feel comfortable cooperating with local police.

“When you have an environment, which we have, where folks have the confidence to come out of the shadows into the daylight, engage their neighbors, their faith leaders, their elected officials and most importantly law enforcement — that is a safer community,” Murphy said.

Federal prosecutors said, in a filing with the District of New Jersey, that two parts of the directive — which limit information-sharing with ICE and notify immigrants that they are wanted by the federal agency — make it more difficult for the government to enforce immigration laws.

Ocean and Cape May Counties already have an ongoing lawsuit with the aim of invalidating the immigration directive, which the Trump administration has said it will support.

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