Funding for 287g Immigration Program in Question
In a letter to Sheriff Glen Hill, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement representative Gary Mead told the Prince William County law enforcement official the 287g program is being phased out in favor of more efficient means of indentifying illegal immigrants inside the U.S.
You can see copy of the letter by clicking here. A copy was also sent to Colonel Pete Meletis, superintendent of the Prince William County Adult Detention Center.
A controversial agreement between federal officials and the Prince William County Sheriff’s Office is under review.
Sheriff Glen Hill was notified by the U.S. Customs and Immigration Department an agreement between the two agencies that allows trained sheriff’s deputies to check the legal status of all persons charged with crimes in Prince William County will be extended until the end of the year.
In exchange for the training, the original agreement stipulated the data collected would be shared with customs officials, said Hill.
The program known as 287g will be evaluated by federal officials through Dec. 31. Afterward, Hill will learn if federal officials will decide to continue the 287g program with his department. Hill said he does not know what federal officials will review and has little details on the evaluation process.
A statement from Prince William County Board of Supervisor Corey Stewart on Tuesday afternoon blamed the Obama administration, saying the White House chose to completely end funding for the 287g program after 2012.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – A controversial program that helps law enforcement in Prince William County identify illegal immigrants will not be renewed.
Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart announced the program known as 287g with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which allows the sheriff’s office to determine the legal presence of those jailed and charged with other criminal offenses, will come to an end in Prince William this year.
Stewart said the Obama Administration decided not to renew federal funding for the program, and that county officials were notified last week.
The 297g program became controversial in 2007 when the Prince William County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution allowing law enforcement officers to check the legal presence of anyone on the street. That rule was later determined to be too costly to enforce, and now legal presence is checked at a courthouse in Manassas after someone has been charged with a crime.
Officials in Prince William field a lawsuit against immigration and customs enforcement in an effort to see the data collected from arrestees that was later turned over federal authorities. The lawsuit is still pending.
Supporters of the program said 287g took violent criminals off streets. Opponents of the program said local governments should not be able to check immigration status, and they feared the program would deter crime victims from talking with police.