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Are New Jersey immigrants afraid to call police for help?

Most New Jersey residents logically assume that police will come to their aid if they call them for help. For instance, if a particular resident were to witness someone on their property in the wee hours of the morning whom he or she neither invited there nor recognized at all, it would not be uncommon for the resident to call police to investigate the matter. Immigrants in a neighborhood in another state are worried that reaching out for such help may wind up landing them behind bars instead of a possible intruder.

The immigrants' fears were spawned by an incident that occurred at approximately 5:30 a.m. on a recent Thursday. A man from Honduras who lives in the neighborhood became afraid when he saw an unidentified person acting suspiciously on his property. The man did what most average citizens would do in such circumstances: he called the police for help.

The man and other immigrants in his neighborhood were shocked and dismayed when, instead of coming to his aid, police officers showed up within an hour and arrested him. They handed the man over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. Police later stated that they do not want immigrants in the area to be afraid to call them for help when they need it.

A police spokesman said the officers who made the arrest mistakenly thought the warrant that came through when the man called them was an order for arrest on criminal charges. It turned out to be administrative warrant from ICE. Police assured immigrants in the area that they will not respond to administrative warrants in the future. Any immigrant in New Jersey facing criminal or administrative problems may seek immediate assistance from an experienced immigration law attorney.

Source: ajc.com, "Immigrant detained by ICE after calling police for help", Deedee Sun, Feb. 11, 2018

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