Township Ranks Second In Number Of Pending SomCo Immigration Cases

Franklin Township has the second-highest number of pending immigration cases in Somerset County, according to data gathered by a national information clearinghouse.

There are a total of 188 immigration cases involving township residents now pending in court, according to the data released by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, based at Syracuse University in New York. Of those, 13 have been filed in the last 90 days, according to the data.

There are a total of 1,489 immigration cases pending throughout the county, 86 of which have been instituted in the last 90 days, according to the data. Immigration cases can take years to make their way through the courts, so TRAC included the 90-day data so a better picture of the Trump Administration’s immigration efforts could be created.

Franklin’s totals place it second in the county both in total number of pending cases and the number of cases instituted within the last 90 days, according to the TRAC data.

The TRAC data also shows that Franklin is one of only 766 towns in the United States that have pending immigration cases involving 100 or more residents.

The township is topped in the county only by North Plainfield, which has 784 pending cases, 39 of which have been filed in the last 90 days, according to the data. North Plainfield has 53 percent of the total Somerset County pending cases, and 45 percent of the cases filed within the last 90 days, according to the data.

There are 16 Somerset County towns with pending immigration cases, according to the TRAC data.

Aside from North Plainfield and Franklin, only Bound Brook – with 153 – have double-digit pending immigration cases, according to the data.

Statewide, there are 31,014 pending immigration cases, 2,071 of which have been filed within the last 90 days, according to the data.

New Jersey has the sixth-highest total of pending immigration cases in the United States, the data show. Somerset County is 9th among the state’s 21 counties in the total of pending cases.

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Immigration is a hot political topic since the inauguration of Pres. Donald Trump, who made the issue a key plank in his presidential campaign platform, and has unsuccessfully attempted sweeping immigration bans.

Agents with the federal Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have made hundreds of arrests over the last few months, prompting the so-called “Sanctuary City” movement. Sanctuary cities declare themselves safe for undocumented immigrants, and use no municipal funds to enforce immigration laws, nor do they aid in raids conducted by ICE.

Several township residents have called upon the Township Council to declare Franklin a “Sanctuary City,” but that effort seemed to have been scuttled in April, when township police officials told the council that such a designation would probably have no affect.

Following guidelines from the state Attorney General, township police only ask about immigration status of suspects detained for serious crimes, the council was told. Federal agencies can carry out their operations within township borders without notifying local police.

“I don’t believe it’s gong to change anything from how we operate, and I don’t think it’s going to protect anyone because we’re not out stopping people and asking them what their immigration status is. That’s just not part of our job function,” Deputy Police Chief Richard Grammar told the council in April.


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