The Lambertville ICE Incident. What It Was, What it Wasn’t, and How You Can Help

On the morning of Friday April 13 at around 8:30 a.m. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) came to Lambertville pursuing an individual with an open warrant. They were seen by several people in the community, and reports of the incident spread quickly through social media and word of mouth.

Lambertville Police Director, Bruce Cocuzza, confirmed that ICE informed the Lambertville Police Department that morning that they had a warrant for a specific suspect wanted for a high speed chase in Delaware Township. The ICE agents stopped a van in which they expected to find the suspect on Bridge Street. While the target was not in the van, there were two other individuals who had warrants.

What it was not: It was not a sweep. It is important to understand the directive of the New Jersey State Attorney General’s office. Per Director Cocuzza:

“The Attorney General’s directive primarily outlines those circumstances when ICE must be notified concerning the arrest of a possibly undocumented immigrant (specifically for violent crimes and/or DWI arrests). It also forbids local police from routinely inquiring about a person’s status.”

ICE is under no obligation to share information with local police departments. The Lambertville Police Department does not know the specifics of the warrants, nor did they assist ICE. An incident like this is – and has been – ICE’s standard operating procedure. It does not seem to reflect a change in federal policy.How to be an ally: Our ILNH community embraces the idea of inclusion and it values those who seek to simply be good neighbors. We are proud to be a community that stands by the principles of fairness and safety. When we see our neighbors and friends in danger, we may react with the best of intentions, but without fully understanding how our reactions may harm the people we seek to help. In situations like these, it’s important to connect with people who are already doing this work. For the safety and privacy of the community we are trying to protect, avoid posting to social media. Here’s how you can help:

If you know of someone who has been affected by recent ICE actions, please refer them to Fisherman’s Mark at 609-397-0194. Fisherman’s Mark has deep relationships with our Spanish-speaking community on both sides of the river and is a trusted organization.

Be a person who shares confirmed facts.If you have access to, or knowledge of, Facebook pages that exist for our vulnerable neighbors, please do not share them in public places on social media. While you are well meaning, not everyone who reads your posts is. Sometimes well-intentioned sharing brings unwanted attention to platforms and pages that have been established through hard work and building of trust.

Donate time and dollars. Fisherman’s Mark has been doing this work for a long time and they do it on a shoestring. Sometimes the best thing we can do is support those that are doing the work on the front lines with funding and volunteering within the organization. Organizing a fundraiser is another way you can make a difference.

Donations can be sent to: Fisherman’s Mark, 37 S. Main St. Lambertville, NJ 08530 or made through their website.