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Prince William County jail board ends ICE agreement

According to the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights (VACIR), more than 579 people have been deported under the agreement since 2018.

MANASSAS, Va. — The Prince William – Manassas Regional Jail Board decided Wednesday not to extend its 287(g) agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The program, set to expire June 30, deputized local law enforcement to act as ICE agents in limited roles. 

"This section of law authorizes the Director of ICE to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies, that permit designated officers to perform limited immigration law enforcement functions," ICE's website said in regards to the 287(g) program. "Agreements under section 287(g) require the local law enforcement officers to receive appropriate training and to function under the supervision of ICE officers."

Via a Zoom meeting, the chairman of the jail board, Sheriff Glen Hill, supported the program and asked the 11-member board if anyone wanted to offer a motion to extend the program that had been in effect in Prince William County since 2007. No motion was offered. 

"Building trust with our community in law enforcement is a foundational principle," Police Chief Barry Barnard said. "Really every day you have to work at it with every personal interaction you have. We have a large immigrant community ... And I wonder if there's another way for ICE to complete their mission, rather than through this program." 

According to the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights (VACIR), more than 579 people have been deported under the agreement since 2018. 

"With the national conversation rightfully focused on the brutalities of law enforcement against Black and Brown people, the ending of 287g in Prince William County is nothing short of historic,” Luis Oyola, local committee chair of VACIR with Legal Aid Justice Center, said. “This contract enabled far too many abuses by ICE and the Jail against immigrants in the County. This is the people's win and we look forward to ending all abuses against the marginalized people of Prince William County."

Seventy-seven law enforcement agencies in 21 states have 287(g) programs in place. Prince William-Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center and Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office are the only two in Virginia. In Maryland, the Cecil, Frederick and Harford County sheriff's offices also have programs in effect. 

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