This Monday Chief Skinner will present the draft Memorandum of Understanding with Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the Section 287(g) Program to the Manassas City Council for ratification, and finally begin the implementation of an effort initiated by then-Councilman Jackson Miller in 2006. This agreement is very similar to what the Town of Herndon adopted, and is an important component of the overall effort to ensure that Prince William County, the City of Manassas, the Prince William County Adult Detention Center and the Prince William County Juvenile Detention Center all establish compatible agreements under the Section 287(g) Program. It will be a tremendous benefit to ensure consistent policies among the different area jurisdictions, especially given the degree of resources they share, and will reduce the level of effort needed to implement these policies within the jurisdictions that are participating in this program.
One of the key benefits of this program will be to close a potential loophole for criminal illegal aliens who might avoid screening at the Detention Centers. There are instances when a violation of crime or local ordinance does not automatically mean that a suspect is detained, and under current policy if someone doesn’t pass through the intake center at the Adult or Juvenile Detention Center, they escape any screening for legal status. Current Virginia law, despite the efforts of Delegate Jackson Miller in the General Assembly, requires that if someone is cited for a misdemeanor such as being a “Peeping Tom”, stalking, or misdemeanor assault the police officer must release the individual on a summons. With the implementation of this program for the Manassas City Police Department, if an officer who has received training under the Section 287(g) Program believes that the suspect is an illegal alien that officer can screen the suspect for his legal status, and then if the person is determined to be an illegal alien, take him into custody so he can be processed for deportation.
While the General Assembly is now considering legislation that would remove the presumption for bail of illegal aliens in Virginia, unless there’s a means to determine who is and who is not an illegal alien, the effect of this legislation is likely to be somewhat minimal. Currently police can only determine if someone is an illegal alien absent the training and resources provided under the Section 287(g) Program if the person provides identification that matches that of someone who has previously been subject to a deportation order and then is again found in the United States. Using a fake identity completely subverts this effort, and it does nothing to help identify the status of an overwhelming proportion of illegal aliens who have so far successfully evaded the consequences of their unlawful actions. You can’t deny an illegal alien bail if you haven’t determined whether they are an illegal alien or not.
I’m hearing that the illegal alien lobby has already started to engage the members of the Manassas City Council in an attempt to prevent this agreement from being signed. Citizens who support the rule of law and want to ensure that the City of Manassas does not become a relative safe haven for illegal aliens now that Prince William County is implementing their crackdown really need to be at Manassas City Council Chambers on Monday night and advocate for this important effort. Already, a few reports have come in of illegal aliens moving from Prince William County to Manassas City and while school enrollments in Prince William County seem to be going down, especially for ESOL students, there appears to be an increase in Manassas. If the illegal alien lobby prevails, it will solidify the perception in the illegal alien community that Manassas is a more hospitable place for illegal aliens than Prince William County, which may make parts of Manassas start looking like the “old section” of Manassas Park, where illegals already benefit from a local government that is relatively accommodating to their needs.
Come speak at Citizens Time, which should start sometime after 6:00PM, and lend your support to this effort to ensure that Manassas City adopts policies towards illegal aliens that are consistent with Prince William County, and prevents illegal aliens from perceiving that the City of Manassas is a more inviting place to unlawfully reside than the county that surrounds it. You can view the packet for this council meeting here, and it wouldn’t hurt to contact members of the City Council by phone and email this weekend even if you can make the Council meeting on Monday.
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