Corey Stewart, Prince William Chairman At-large (R) and aspiring Virginia gubernatorial candidate announced a new policy whereby county police would be able to send thousands of “criminal” illegal aliens back to the federal government for deportation.
Stewart held a press conference Feb. 7 at the McCoart Building to announce his new immigration policy for the county.
Describing his policy as “bold” and “strong,” Stewart said it would result in increased safety for county citizens.
Stewart explained that over the past 10years the county has sent approximately 7500 illegal aliens arrested for a crime to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but federal departments refused to provided information on what happened to those individuals after that.
“I am asking on behalf of the Board of County Supervisors that the Trump Administration, the Department of Homeland Security and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement identify, detain and remove the 7500 criminal illegal aliens that we have handed over to ICE over the past 10 years. We are also asking the Trump Administration to release to the Prince William County Police Department and the officials at the County’s Adult Detention Center the whereabouts of these individuals,” Stewart said.
Stewart knows ICE released many people as 14 percent had been re-arrested within the county. He believes that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Stewart wants Prince William County to cooperate with the Trump administration’s efforts in accordance with the 287G Program. He wants his police provided with information on those 7500 individuals.
Stewart said police would be interested in a person who had been deported for a crime and now is back in the community. He avoided questions of whether police would be empowered to “round them up.”
Stewart said the policy should not affect non-criminals nor should it affect the Hispanic community in Prince William County. He said that police will not be racially profiling citizens based on skin color, language, religion or ethnicity, nor have they been in the past. He and said that since they have cooperated with 287G there has not been one single incident of racial profiling as everyone’s immigration status is checked upon arrest.
Undocumented immigrants who are the victims of or witnesses to crimes would not be subjected to an investigation into their immigration status, nor would those charged with non-criminal violations or misdemeanors.
Stewart said the policy is aimed at Prince William County, not his gubernatorial run, and that Prince William was a “pioneer” in responding to illegal immigration.
Stewart said the policy was something the community very much wanted but he downplayed opposition from less conservative residents, Latinos, members of other pro-immigrant and “dreamers” groups.
Members of the press pool challenged Stewart on his definition of “criminal” as a person who has been charged in a crime, not convicted of one.
Following the conference, Woodbridge Supervisor Frank Principi (D) said he was troubled by that Stewart had changed the definition of “criminal” to fit the definition used by the Trump administration, calling it an “alternative fact.”Although the board action was unanimously supported, Principi said the supervisors did not agree to that definition.
Sergeant Jonathan Perok, a spokesperson for Prince William County Police, said that police have been reporting immigration status to ICE after an individual has been arrested.
Principi said despite Stewart’s assertion, families were torn apart by Prince William’s deportation policies. He said that in his district many businesses along Route 1 were abandoned.
Principi called the press conference “political theater” to provide publicity for Stewart’s gubernatorial run.
Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson (R) stood at Stewart’s side during the conference but did not speak. No member of the police force was present at the press conference.
© 2017, Stacy Shaw. All rights reserved.
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