- The Washington Times - Monday, September 17, 2007

Prince William County police will be required to verify the immigration status of anybody violating Virginia or county laws if an officer has probable cause to believe a suspect is an illegal alien, under a general order proposed by Police Chief Charlie T. Deane.

Chief Deane is scheduled to present a 107-page report tomorrow at a work session of the Board of County Supervisors, which voted unanimously in July to mandate a more stringent immigration-enforcement policy.

An officer may arrest an illegal alien if the suspect is found to be a previously deported felon listed in the National Crime Information Center database, the officer receives confirmation from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and ICE issues a criminal immigration detainer, or hold, on the suspect.

An officer also may arrest an illegal alien if the database shows an outstanding administrative warrant of removal, also known as a civil immigration warrant, against the suspect and if the officer has charged the suspect for a separate crime under which he or she may be released on a court summons. An officer may consider the civil immigration warrant as a factor in determining whether the illegal alien is likely to disregard the summons, and subsequently may arrest the suspect.

Officers may not arrest based solely on the existence of a civil immigration warrant against an illegal alien. And they may not arrest based solely on the fact that an illegal alien is a previously deported felon if an immigration hold is not received from or issued by ICE within a reasonable amount of time.

The proposed general order also establishes a standard of probable cause according to existing case law and guidelines for verification of legal presence according to Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle guidelines.

Identification and documents that may be used to prove legal presence include a valid Virginia driver’s license or special identification card issued after Jan. 1, 2004, U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, certificate of naturalization, resident alien card or valid foreign passport with a visa.

The county police department also has sent a letter to ICE requesting participation in the 287(g) program, which allows local law-enforcement agencies to begin deportation proceedings for some illegal aliens.

The Board of County Supervisors’ resolution in July also directed the police department to enroll in the 287(g) training.

Chief Deane’s report, the result of a 60-day department study, also includes information on a public-education campaign and estimated costs of implementing the new policy, which are estimated to exceed $14 million over five years.

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