The federal government fails to deal with the issue of a massive influx of illegal aliens, and then throws localities a bone in the form of the 287(g) Program which allows localities to do some of the work that the feds aren’t getting done. Just about the time localities start to discover just how well the Section 287(g) Program works, the feds then start crying that they don’t have the resources and start trying to make administrative changes and cut back on the program’s effectiveness. With so many government programs that clearly don’t work, it comes as little surprise that when one does, the government starts trying to limit the program.
That’s exactly the position that a number of Northern Virginia localities including Herndon, Manassas and Prince William County are in right now. These early adopters of the Section 287(g) Program obtained committments from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to accept criminal aliens that commit a pretty comprehensive variety of crimes. As these programs have kicked off, ICE has been pretty surprised at the number of illegal aliens committing crimes in Northern Virginia despite their legendary efforts to control illegal immigration in Virginia. Their immediate response, rather than recognizing how effective local law enforcement is at back-filling their ranks, is to start limiting how many illegal aliens they’re willing to accept.
First to go are the committments to accept criminal aliens based on a list of crimes against persons and property that had been previously negotiated. This gave local law enforcement officials clarity about what ICE would do, and made the whole system run smoothly at the local jail. It also ensured consistent treatment for illegal aliens, which helps prevent civil rights lawsuits. If the crime was on the list, ICE would take them. By unilaterally dropping the list of crimes, ICE now gets to pick and choose who they think they want to deal with, and local law enforcement has no idea whether they’re going to end up holding someone on an immigration detainer or not. One week, an illegal alien caught for DWI gets a detainer, the next week ICE says they’re too busy, and that illegal alien who has committed the same crime gets treated differently than the one caught a week later.
Wednesday, Manassas, Prince William and Herndon officials get a chance to hear what the new rules are that they’re forced to accept. These rules are a result of Congress’ little war against programs that work, rather than bestow upon their favored friends taxpayer largesse or seek raw political advantage over their opponents. There are Congress Critters that want to gut ICE’s workplace enforcement actions, hamper ICE’s ability to do their job under the Section 287(g) Program, grant amnesty in some form for illegal aliens, and essentially hand our country over to foreign nationals. While we can, and should be pretty upset about what ICE is doing here, the real culprits are our federal elected officials that won’t dedicate the resources necessary for law enforcement agencies to do their jobs. It’s anarchy by appropriation, or in this case, lack thereof.
And this is what it gets us:
24 June, 2008
Office of State and Local Coordination
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
425 I Street NW
Washington DC 20536
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Steve J DeBenedittis
City of Herndon
PO Box 427
Herndon Virginia 20172-0427
Dear Mayor DeBenedittis
As you may be aware on May 7, 2008, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) representatives met with law enforcement personnel from the Herndon Police Department, Prince William County Police Department, Manassas City Police Department, Prince William County Adult Detention Center, and the Prince William County Sheriff’s Office. I would like to share with you a summary of this meeting.
The agenda items at the meeting included a discussion of the 287(g) Delegation of Authority program ICE’s request for statistical reporting of 287(g) arrests in each of the above jurisdictions and the establishment of an Executive Steering Committee within each law enforcement agency (LEA). The meeting ended with an open discussion focused on the joint immigration and customs enforcement efforts between ICE and LEAs in the Washington DC area.
At the meeting, it was emphasized that ICE’s mission is to protect America and uphold public safety. ICE fulfills this mission by identifying criminal activities and eliminating vulnerabilities that pose a threat to our Nation’s borders as well as our economic stability. Like many LEAs, ICE does have limited resources and ICE must prioritize all reports of illegal alien activity within the scope of ICE’s mission. ICE representatives emphasized that the 287(g) program was established to prioritize in the same manner by targeting serious criminal aliens and aliens of lesser offenses on a case-by-basis. ICE emphasized that removal proceedings would be initiated for illegal aliens processed under 287(g), but not all processed illegal aliens would be necessarily detained. The determining factor would be the available ICE resources.
ICE representatives also discussed ICE’s new initiative, Secure Communities, which could be considered in the future to address the needs of the communities in the Washington DC area. Essentially Secure Communities is a comprehensive plan to streamline how LEAs identify and remove criminal aliens. It is a multi-year initiative to more effectively identify detain and return removable criminal aliens incarcerated in federal state and local prisons and jails. ICE’s plan will use expanded integration technology and build upon the relationships with state and local LEAs to ensure that after they serve their time in custody criminal aliens are removed from the country instead of being released into our communities.
Chief Skinner, of the City of Manassas Police Department also discussed his department’s current Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with ICE and referenced the list of A and B offenses as the parameters for determining which individuals should be targeted. It asked whether the MOA could be amended to clarify the parameters that ICE could handle. ICE proposes removing the referenced list of A and B offenses in the addendum section of the four task force MOAs and deferring to the arrest guidelines summarized in this letter.
Chief Deane, of the Prince William County Police Department (PWCPD) stated that his officers were currently verifying the immigration status of all those arrested. Previously officers only verified immigration status of those detained. Chief Deane also reported statistics from the immigration project implemented by PWCPD since its inception on March 3, 2008 (separate and apart from the PWCPD 287(g) program) that tracks immigration numbers. This revealed that of 189 illegal aliens encountered, 49 were arrested. Those who were not arrested and were determined not to have status were referred to ICE.
ICE discussed the need to capture and report consistent statistics. It was requested that the various local agencies begin using a template created by ICE. It was also requested that coordination with ICE occur prior to the release of any 287(g) statistics by the LEAs. ICE also discussed that it would work with each of the local departments to establish an Executive Steering Committee which is stipulated as a requirement in existing 287(g) MOAs. All present agreed that the committee should meet no more frequently than Quarterly.
I hope this letter provides an adequate overview of the meeting and also advises the Board of the following proposals that address your county’s MOAs:
1. ICE proposes removing the referenced list of A and B offenses in the addendum section of the four task force MOAs and deferring to the arrest guidelines summarized in this letter.
2. ICE proposes establishing an Executive Steering Committee for all departments that have an existing MOA in place.
3. ICE proposes to meet quarterly with the ESC.
I have also extended an invitation to meet with Chief Summers at his earliest convenience to provide him an ICE ACCESS overview and discuss the proposals mentioned above at a summit that can be scheduled at his earliest convenience.
Office of State and Local Coordination
How nice. Lawbreaking illegal aliens that endanger the safety and security of illegal aliens will get set free. This outrageous inaction by Congress gutting of our law enforcement efforts brings to mind this part of the Declaration of Independence:
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
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