Yesterday the Board of County Supervisors had a presentation from Chief Deane and Robert Hines from the Department of Homeland Security about the Section 287(g) Program and what it would mean for Prince William County. In a stunning turnaround, not only did the Chief reccomend engaging in the program at the Adult Detention Center, but Manassas City Police Chief Skinner, who had been a vocal opponent of the program provided a strong endorsement as well. They even went so far as to suggest the possibility of having some officers assigned to specialized task forces obtain training under the program as well. Although they do have concerns, it clearly seems that after listening to Bob Hines talk a few times about the program and clear up some of the widely held misconceptions, they are now solidly on board.
It’s worth mentioning that now-Delegate Jackson Miller is the one who started this ball rolling when he suggested this program for Manassas City back this spring. At the time it was widely thought this was a bad idea and a risky political move for a House of Delegates candidate. Since then he’s managed to educate and rally the Manassas City Council around the idea, it’s now under active consideration in Prince William County, and legislation has been proposed in the House of Delegates to implement this program with the state police. He started this whole thing before he even had the Republican nomination for the 50th, and now it’s one of the most popular legislative priorities in the state. Pretty impressive.
During the presentation we learned that the police department already has some ability to turn criminal aliens over to ICE for deportation. The Northern Virginia Gang Task Force has turned about 300 illegals over to ICE for deportation, but outside of that Chief Deane was unable to recall a single instance where this has been done outside of the auspices of this task force, despite a current illegal alien population at the Adult Detention Center of 54 felons. Under the ICE program a trained officer would have the authority, under the ICE supervsion, to immediately process all of these 54 aliens who have been convicted of a felony who currently are held in the detention center for deportation, along with any number of the 34 illegals currently held for serious misdemeanors, as well as any new detainees that show up. The Section 287(g) program would take us from zero to perhaps as many as one hundred deportations a year.
The Board of Supervisors seemed very eager to adopt the program, and to me it looks like it has unanimous support. I’m certain the program will be adopted at the next meeting of the Board in January.
For more coverage, the Manassas Journal-Messenger has a disappointing article which looks like it came from a different meeting. In that article, entitled “Chief Against ICE Training”, they actually disclose that he’s in favor of it. My guess is that the editors hacked Keith’s article to bits and gave it a misleading headline, as I cannot believe he’d get that from the meeting.
UPDATE For more analysis on this, see this excellent post over at Conservative Politics.
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