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ICE Removes Immigration Program from Herndon

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has discontinued 287(g) task force agreements, which allowed local officers to question, detain suspected criminals based on legal status.

After five years, the Town of Herndon’s participation in the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s 287(g) program — which allowed local officers to help with street-level immigration enforcement — has been discontinued.

The program allowed local law enforcement to question those suspected of crimes about their legal status and detain or arrest those here illegally, potentially leading to their deportation.

The Town of Herndon is one of 57 municipalities in 21 states who entered into agreements with ICE under the law. ICE worked with local law enforcement to train officers in the programs.

ICE told Herndon it would not renew the town’s Memorandum of Agreement authorizing the town’s participation after Dec. 31, according to a statement on the Town of Herndon’s website.

It also ended agreements with the 16 other jurisdictions who had "task force" agreements under the law — five of them in Virginia.

Forty jurisdictions who are authorized for jail enforcement under the law, including the Prince William-Manassas Regional Jail and the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office, will continue its programs, at least for now. 

According to an ICE press release from Dec. 21, this restricts the use of detainers against individuals arrested for minor misdemeanor offenses such as traffic offenses and other petty crimes.

New federal guidelines, released concurrently with the announcement its 287(g) program was ending, say local police should instead focus on, among other things, felons, repeat criminals, repeat immigration law offenders, or public safety threats — such as known gang members or suspected terrorists. 

During fiscal year 2012, ICE’s Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations removed 409,849 individuals from the country. About 55 percent of them were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors.

From January to November 2012, the Herndon Police Department issued 39 detainers through the 287(g) program.

By comparison, in Prince William County — one of the municipalities in which ICE will allow the program to continue through June 30 — has averaged about 1,100 detainers a year through a jail-based 287(g) agreement; about 5,500 people have been detained through the program there since 2007, officials told the Washington Post.

Herndon's 287(g) agreement is for street enforcement, as are the others being ended nationwide.

[Do you think ending the agreement impact the town? Speak Out on this issue by clicking here.

USA Today reported earlier this year that eliminating the program alltogether could save the Department of Homeland Security about $17 million.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell asked ICE to authorize state troopers under a street-level 287(g) program in 2010, but his request was denied.

“Although the formal 287(g) program has been discontinued, we have over the course of the program developed strong relationships with ICE officials and we will continue to work closely with them to enhance public safety throughout our community,” Col. Maggie A. DeBoard, Herndon’s Chief of Police, said in the town’s statement

The Secure Communities Program, which is used at the Fairfax County jail, remains in effect. Secure Communities helps identify criminal illegal immigrants as they’re arrested and booked by running their fingerprints against a national database when they’re taken into custody.

The Fairfax County jail houses those arrested by the Town of Herndon.

“While the FY 2012 removals indicate that we continue to make progress in focusing resources on criminal and priority aliens, with more convicted criminals being removed from the country than ever before, we are constantly looking for ways to ensure that we are doing everything we can to utilize our resources in a way that maximizes public safety,” ICE Director John Morton wrote in a release.

Have an opinion to share on the end of the 287(g) program in Herndon? Click here to tell us what you think on Speak Out. 

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Bob Bruhns January 08, 2013 at 03:33 PM
The vast majority of our guests who are here illegally, are indeed just trying to make some money and do something for their families. There are problems with our government's business-supported policy of "Keep them illegal to keep them cheap, and keep them coming" - the result of which is that guests are disliked and blamed, while the business interests that quietly demand this for their own rea$on$, get a free pass. And now it looks like they got another perk from our supposedly nice-guy government. It won't make much difference, except that it will make life easier for some criminals and drunk drivers. ICE was already subverting all immigration enforcement, every way they could imagine. Herndon was trying to deal with felons and drunk drivers who SHOULD be sent packing - but ICE wasn't holding up their end of the bargain. ARTICLE: Many freed criminals avoid deportation, strike again Boston Globe, December 09, 2012 http://bostonglobe.com/metro/2012/12/09/secret-criminals-quietly-released-criminals-who-were-supposed-deported-with-deadly-consequences/864u1YQbUaVcRiSnz6VaxJ/story.html "The vast and secretive US prison system for immigrants, stymied when it tries to deport some criminals, has quietly released thousands, including killers, a Globe investigation shows." This is not some angry article from some xenophobic lunatics - the Boston Globe is owned by the New York Times.
Grace Han Wolf January 08, 2013 at 04:04 PM
It is my understanding, since I asked the Chief for clarification, that all street enforcement MOUs with ICE for 287(g) are ended on a national basis. Jurisdictions that have jail enforcement MOU with ICE for 287(g) for an additional 6 months but will then be phased out. The Town does not operate a jail and Fairfax County never entered into an MOU with ICE for 287(g) for its jail. All jails currentlly have Secure Communities and this sounds like the only program that will be left in place after the 6 month 287(g) wind-down for identifying dangerous criminals who are in the country illegally.
Leslie Perales Loges January 08, 2013 at 04:22 PM
Yes — we spent a lot of time going over that last night. It took us a while (the ICE press release could've been clearer) to figure out that the task force agreements are ending but jail enforcement is still in place until June 30. It's all in the article! Also noted in the article is Fairfax County jail's participation in Secure Communities and Fairfax County jail houses those arrested in Herndon.
Bob Bruhns January 09, 2013 at 04:49 PM
It is misleading for ICE to suggest that communities like Herndon were using 287(g) to deport "individuals arrested for minor misdemeanor offenses such as traffic offenses and other petty crimes." Herndon was always looking to remove the 'worst of the worst" (serious criminals and drunk drivers). In Herndon, 287(g) worked very much like the standard check that is routinely conducted on everyone, including US Citizens, in any routine traffic stop. Was there really a valid objection to evicting unvetted guests who were found to be guilty of serious crimes, or who were caught driving drunk? Our government doesn't want that to happen unless the "minor traffic offenses and other petty crimes" rises to the level of an arrestable offense, because 'Secure Communities' only applies when someone is arrested. The result of this change will be that serious criminals will not be detected until they have struck again. This will mean a degradation in the level of protection provided to the innocent population, but of course ICE has routinely allowed that even with 287(g) in place. ARTICLE: Many freed criminals avoid deportation, strike again Boston Globe, December 09, 2012 http://bostonglobe.com/metro/2012/12/09/secret-criminals-quietly-released-criminals-who-were-supposed-deported-with-deadly-consequences/864u1YQbUaVcRiSnz6VaxJ/story.html ICE was releasing murderers! This is not some angry article from some xenophobic lunatics - the Boston Globe is owned by the New York Times.

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