A Virginia law took effect this month which requires local jails to contact ICE to check the immigration status of all foreign-born inmates, irrespective of whether they are in the country legally. While the law hasn’t received as much attention as the 287(g)-related illegal alien crackdown in Prince William County, Va., it will benefit other jurisdictions seeking to identify and deport illegal alien inmates. The law may not have the force multiplier effect that results from Prince William’s policy, however.
The measure, which was sponsored by State Delegate David Albo (R), requires officers in charge of jails or correctional facilities to ask people in custody if they were born in or are citizens of the United States and to make immigration alien queries to ICE for people who were born elsewhere or citizens of other countries. Jail officers must communicate the results of the query to the Local Inmate Data System of the Virginia State Compensation Board. The Board then must communicate, on a monthly basis, which inmates have been confirmed as being illegally present to the state’s Central Criminal Records Exchange and to ICE.
The Washington Post, which reported on the story today, quotes Del. Albo as saying "With our new law, these people who are here illegally should be afraid of living anywhere in Virginia right now…If you're here illegally, it's not any scarier to live in Prince William than in any other county."
Prince William law enforcement authorities will spend $1.5 million on, and have 16 officers and deputies working in, the 287(g) program this fiscal year. Other Virginia communities may decide not to devote substantial resources in lieu of the new law, however. The Post notes that Prince William officials are confident that they will identify more illegal aliens under the county’s partnership with ICE than they would under the state law.
Updated: Wed, Jul 5th 2017 @ 2:03pm EDT