PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. (WUSA) - Prince William County's controversial immigration policy may become a victim of the budget axe. President Obama's 2013 budget saves $17 million by not renewing 287g programs that expire by December 31, 2012.
Prince William County Chair Corey Stewart has received credit and criticism nationwide over the 287g program since it began in 2007 and spread to other locations such as Arizona. The 287g program is a partnership with the Department of Homeland Security. It trains and authorizes local officers to check the immigration status of people who are arrested.
Stewart says the program has cut crime by nearly 50 percent since 2007. But advocates for immigrants say that's malarkey.
John Steinbeck says crime reductions are common when immigrant populations have increased because they are extremely law-abiding and patriotic people. He also points out the reduction in crime is a national trend.
Steinbach is a critic of the 287g program because he says it instills a mistrust of police into the immigrant community. He says it makes immigrants who are victims of crime reluctant to report fearing families members could be deported.
Steinbach says the program is not only unnecessary, but too expensive. The 287g program costs prince William county taxpayers $600 thousand, that does not include the federal money.
Stewart vows to fight the planned de-funding and vows to find a way and the money to continue the program.