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April 6, 2017 · OPINION

Sheriff Mosier: Pull your application for 287(g)

By Eve Brooks

Sheriff Bob Mosier recently announced that he has applied to the federal government to participate in the jail-related program under Section 287(g) of the immigration law. He should withdraw the application now. Everyone makes mistakes, and fortunately Sheriff Mosier has time to rectify this one.

The sheriff’s announcement has sent shockwaves through the community, particularly those involved in agriculture and farming. It speaks to a harsh policy towards immigrants who fall under deportation laws. This action, in combination with a perceived increase in the use of roadblocks in areas used by immigrants to travel to and from farm work, sends fear through the immigrant community, many of whom are avoiding public spaces and programming as a result.

The 287(g) program is an agreement between local law enforcement that allows a state or local law enforcement entity to enter into a partnership with ICE, under a joint memorandum of agreement (MOA) to receive delegated authority for immigration enforcement within their jurisdictions. The local law enforcement agency is not paid by ICE for their staff time nor are they fully reimbursed for expenses incurred. The MOA signed between the locality and ICE is specifically about enforcement of civil — not criminal — violations of federal immigration law. Criminals — including criminal aliens — are those found guilty of crimes. They are deported upon release from jail.

The sheriff has failed to identify and quantify the problem he seeks to solve.

He has not explained why he has determined to make Fauquier only the second county in Virginia to seek to participate in the 287(g) program.

Participation in the 287(g) program is not needed to ensure deportation of jailed immigrants and therefore does not enhance safety. Undocumented immigrants detained in our jails are already rapidly identified by ICE and are transported to in federal detention facilities after release from jail. Virginia law requires that jails automatically send fingerprints of anyone arrested to ICE, which checks their status and issues detainers to hold those people for 48 hours if they are sought by ICE.

The sheriff has claimed that his intent is to make the community safer.

This statement is not supported by facts.

The sheriff has failed to show that the immigrant population in general is a threat to safety, necessitating focused resources. The sheriff provides no data to demonstrate that immigrants in the county are engaged in crime in numbers proportionally higher than the native-born population. Indeed, national data clearly demonstrates that the immigrant population as a whole is less likely to engage in crime than the native population.

Moreover, when immigrants are involved in serious crimes, they are subject to the justice system. Deputizing the sheriffs in the jail in no way enhances the capacity of the sheriff’s department to arrest and jail offenders.

The policy proposed for Fauquier appears to mirror that in neighboring Prince William County. According to a report of the implementation of the program in Prince William:

“The policy has not affected most types of crime in Prince William County, in large part because illegal immigrants account for only a small percent of arrests overall and a small too modest share of offenders for most types of crime. About 70 percent of arrests of illegal immigrants were for just three specific offenses: public drunkenness, driving while intoxicated and driving without a license.”

Implementation of the program is likely to diminish the safety of immigrant population. Studies have found that immigrants in counties which participate in the 287(g) program fear encounters with law enforcement and, as a result, fail to report crimes or to cooperate. This is a concern expressed nationally by law enforcement organizations.

The sheriff does not seem to understand the 287(g) program’s focus: civil immigration.

Sheriff Mosier has repeatedly stated, in letters and public that the program will focus on solely on “criminal aliens.” Yet the MOA he will need to sign explicitly requires that the jail target for deportation aliens who fall within ICE’s civil immigration enforcement priorities.

The Fauquier County Adult Detention Center under the proposed MOA with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will apply to people who are who are not found guilty of charges of criminal activities, as well as those who are arrested for crimes. Given that those personnel deputized by ICE will have an obligation to initiate deportation procedures for civil violations, it is hard to conceive of a situation in which only criminals (those convicted of crimes) would be the sole object of deportation enforcement by the deputies in the jail. To limit their actions to the criminal population would directly violate the terms of the MOA used routinely by ICE.

Perhaps the sheriff’s use of the term criminal alien reflects the current administration’s belief (not supported by law) that simply being in the country without documentation is a “criminal offense” and therefore misapplies the term “criminal alien.” While being in the county without legal papers is a deportable offense, it does not confer the status of “criminal” per se. For the most part immigration offenses are civil violations.

National studies and data from Prince William County jail’s use of detainers show the majority of persons deported through the 287(g) program are low-level offenders.

The sheriff does not understand the costs the county will assume.

The sheriff claims that there will be no additional costs to the county for participation in the 287(g) program. He notes that the deputies in the jail will only take on some additional paperwork. He does not identify costs in reduced productivity involved in the month of training for the deputies.

The MOA will require the county to upgrade computer systems and bear other costs. The federal government will not reimburse the locality for costs of salary and related benefits. There is no requirement that the feds pay for the month of training, the transportation to the site or housing and other costs during training. Nor does the federal government pay for additional hires or overtime that might result from these federal assignments.

Nor does the federal government pay the costs for transportation to alternative detention centers unless the sheriff seeks to enter into an intergovernmental service agreement.

By the MOA, the Fauquier County Adult Detention Center may be asked to hold immigrants for longer, converting the jail into a temporary ICE facility.

Counties participating in 287(g) programs have found themselves carrying costs of defending lawsuits brought for violations of civil liberties and racial profiling.

Further, the county facility is likely to be asked to hold people with detainers longer than the current 48 hours after they complete their terms in jail. The federal government lacks detention space today for its plan to deport three million people. The daily costs of incarceration are $88.76 in Fauquier, according to a State Compensation Board report.

Normally, ICE requests localities to hold immigrants they seek to deport for 48 hours. Given the high level of cooperation implied by the sheriff’s desire to sign the MOA, it is likely that the county detention center could increasingly house immigrants awaiting a hearing or deportation — but who are not convicted of crimes — on federal detainers for longer than 48 hours.

A University of Virginia study of Prince William County shows substantial costs assumed its participation in the jail portion of 287(g). While the two counties are not comparable in size, or in the full range of policies, the experience of Prince William should raise concerns for the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors. It will be asked to appropriate additional funds for the sheriff’s office should his claims of no cost prove incorrect.

In Prince William the estimated fiscal costs for its 287(g) participation and related policies was $6.4 million. Of that, $3.1 million would have gone to cameras and monitoring footage in the county’s 250 police cars to defend the department against allegations of racial profiling. The cost over a five-year period was estimated to be $26 million. Funding this $6.4 million in one year would have required raising property taxes. Because of the Prince William supervisors’ unwillingness to do that, the board in April 2008 modified the resolution so that the legal status of all persons arrested would be checked after arrest, eliminating the “probable cause” standard and the risk of racial profiling accusations and, thus, omitting the budget for police car video cameras.

The result is a program similar to that sought by Fauquier. In Prince William, the targeted program is estimated to cost about $11.3 million across five years, or slightly more than $2 million annually.

Elected as a constitutional officer, the sheriff can make the decision without approval of the board of supervisors. Should there be cost overruns, he would need to cut other programs or go to the supervisors for additional appropriations.

Sheriff Mosier states he will not use racial profiling. However, the sheriff has made significant use of roadblocks. They clearly target the most common offenses by immigrants, for which arrest is one possible result. Because Virginia denies of driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, the use of roadblocks, while also for other issues, is an effective way to check for that offense. Therefore, the two policies work together and lend credence to claims of racial profiling — and likely litigation.

Sheriff Mosier’s statements emphasize equal justice and a respect for the Hispanic community. However, the announcement already has had a chilling effect on the local Hispanic community. An article in the Fauquier Times quoted the owner of the Cinco de Mayo store in Bealeton, Oscar Velasquez, regarding the in the Hispanic community. This is consistent with findings in Prince William County:

“An annual survey of Prince William County residents in 2008 revealed that for the first time in 15 years, Hispanic residents rated the ‘quality of life’ in the county as significantly lower than other residents. Perhaps more importantly, survey results showed a plunge in satisfaction with the performance and attitudes of the police department among Hispanic residents, but not among other residents . . . .

“The County was not able to implement the policy without creating a serious ethnic gap in perception of the police, ratings of the County as a place to live, and trust in the local government; Hispanic opinions on these matters plunged to unprecedented lows in 2008. This pattern emerged despite extensive efforts by the senior staff of the Police Department to educate the public about the policy through community meetings and media appearances.”

The writer is a member of Vecinos para Vecinos, Neighbors for Neighbors.

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Jim Griffin · April 14, 2017 at 7:21 am
Really, Traverse? Is there any evidence of a border wall being built? Any money ($20b+) allocated to that task? Any taste for the budget cuts that would be needed to accomplish a task like a border wall?

Isn't happening, isn't going to happen. And it wouldn't much matter if it did because quite aside from the fanciful idea of a wall there are border crossings you can literally drive across in minutes or seconds if the traffic is flowing. Or just fly or take a boat. Simply overstay your visa, which is the real issue and cannot be addressed with a wall.

Sure, you're going to see a few wall segments to which Trump can point and say "See, we did it!" But the DHS Sec John Kelly said a few days ago there just isn't going to be a wall across the entire border, and there are no plans to add a border to the North.

The key to immigration control is addressing motives, not mechanisms. So long as America is attractive, many will flock here, which may in some ways explain why you are doing your level best to make it uglier and less attractive a place.
Traverse · April 14, 2017 at 5:32 am
See Jim's comments and understand why we're building a border wall.
Jim Griffin · April 13, 2017 at 8:21 pm
Traverse: The comment to which I was replying with that quote asserted that no civilized country had borders as open as did the USA with Obama, a statement that is factually untrue given the Schengen area's existence.

I also offered the arguments that conservative economists make in supporting agreements that open borders: Less government intrusion, more freedom, more commerce.

Why do those comments disturb you, Traverse? Do you favor more government, less freedom, less commerce? Why don't we erect and police borders between US states? They are, after all, distinct entities with their own laws.

We now track everyone, everywhere they go. We have little need for borders in a world where we know the who, what, where, when, why and how of everyone within our jurisdiction. I do understand and support the need for some lines, but we should agree that the less there are the better.

The borders we have are something of a joke anyway. The line of cars at some of our border crossings is incredibly long, even longer than the lines at Dulles and other major airports. We get 15 seconds of inquiry at some of these.

No wonder they push us to get Global Entry cards and other technology-based keys (like retina scans and fingerprint readers). They haven't the time to truly scrutinize everyone who arrives, and if they did the flow of commerce would be affected.

America is border theater -- same in most if not all of the places I've visited.
Traverse · April 13, 2017 at 6:49 pm
Jim: America is not "The Schengen Area", nor will we ever be. We're a sovereign nation with defined borders, a constitution that's the envy of the world, and citizenship sought by all the world's people. I find your arguments against borders revealing, and disturbing, coming from someone who I assume is a fellow citizen. Open borders is killing Europe, and will kill us too, if we don't stop illegal immigration.
Jim Griffin · April 11, 2017 at 7:32 am

You claim that "No developed countries in the world allows what our previous administration did with "open borders"."

Apparently you are unfamiliar with the Schengen Area.

"The Schengen Area is an area comprising 26 European states that have officially abolished passport and any other type of border control at their mutual borders."

Typically, the goal is a bigger market with less restrictions, the stated goal of many a conservative free market economist.

Indeed, the United States of America is just that. Do you, CO, favor restricted borders between our 50 states? If not, why not? Each are individual political entities with differing laws and tax structures.

The arguments against borders are stronger than those for borders. Yes, there are important legal considerations and practical measures that must be in effect, but freedom of movement and contract is far more empowering than its opposite.

The Schengen Area agreement is a model for nation-states seeking economic empowerment and cooperation. More freedom, less bureaucracy.

You seem to be arguing for more government control and less freedom, citizen observer. Why is that?
citizen observer · April 11, 2017 at 7:23 am
I agree with Sheriff Mosier. The US Congress needs to undertake immigration reform, but they are too busy taking money from lobbyists to listen to their constituents and undertake anything of value.

In the meantime we have federal laws in place that need to be enforced. No developed countries in the world allows what our previous administration did with "open borders".

Ironic I have seen news videos of Hillary Clinton, Charles Schumer, and Senator Obama stating that President Bush needed to address illegal immigration better, including build a wall. I guess they figured letting in millions of immigrants and promising them stuff will further their one party Marxist country goal and have since changed their minds. Go figure.
Jim Griffin · April 8, 2017 at 1:43 pm
Great respect for Sheriff Mosier, those who serve and the rule of law, which is clear: Jail only those properly detained via appropriate legal procedures. Probable cause precedes arrest, judicial arraignment follows arrest.

Absent a court hearing, none should be detained any longer than is needed to put them before a judge who will apply justice to the next step. Accusation alone cannot justify detention without a court hearing.

The sheriff's office must follow the law without exceeding its boundaries (serious potential liability for our county).

Bottom-line: Enforce the laws. All of them.

P.S. Continue to give us a few miles an hour over the limit, please, unless we are in a school zone or passing an emergency vehicle.
Rover 530 · April 7, 2017 at 8:10 pm
Aliens who are illegally in this country have broken the law. That makes them ILLEGAL aliens. Forget the 'undocumented' noise. They need deportation as well as those who have broken other laws while here illegally. This is a nation of laws. Liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, all must see the need to uphold the law of the land. Americans who commit the same violations in other countries (especially in Mexico) would be arrested and imprisoned. The sheriff is merely carrying out his oath of office. The sheriff in Fauquier Co. is answerable to the U.S. and Virginia Constitutions and to the people in the county. Would some have him violate that oath? I didn't vote for Sheriff Mosier but I respect the office.
Tell It Like It Is · April 6, 2017 at 1:45 pm
Only those that have something to gain or to hide would have a problem here.
Leave the application intact.

Traverse · April 6, 2017 at 1:10 pm
They're not "undocumented immigrants", they're illegal aliens... and need to be deported.
Wellitsthetruth · April 6, 2017 at 11:41 am
Man the more I read into this the more I like to point out the projecting.

"Of that, $3.1 million would have gone to cameras and monitoring footage in the county’s 250 police cars to defend the department against allegations of racial profiling. "

Once again, Dash cams and monitoring footage is there for numerous reasons including officer safety and public safety. Stop trying to take facts, and pin point them with what you're argument is as then they are not facts. Your statement is based on a fact with how much the cost is, but as soon as you place the cost solely on "defending against racial profiling claims" then the entire fact gets thrown out as this is simply not true.

Every cop should have dash cams for their own safety as well as ours, stop acting like its an unjust cost by spinning what they are used for.

Also, using Prince William county's budget as a main point is terrible when the county has SIX TIMES the population we do.
Wellitsthetruth · April 6, 2017 at 11:33 am

"Sheriff Mosier states he will not use racial profiling. However, the sheriff has made significant use of roadblocks. They clearly target the most common offenses by immigrants, for which arrest is one possible result. Because Virginia denies of driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, the use of roadblocks, while also for other issues, is an effective way to check for that offense. "

You are projecting so hard to make any thing fit your point. Roadblocks are a commonly used tactic by every law enforcement agency to check licensees(WHICH ARE REQUIRED BY LAW TO DRIVE) insurance( once again required) proper registration (get the point) along with possible DUI's or carrying narcotics etc. Stop trying to stir the pot by making spinning common used police tactic into 'hey roadblocks is racial profiling because they are checking for things that VA says undocumented people are not allowed to have'

VA says they will not give licenses to undocumented immigrants(called drivers privilege cards). They tried that last year and it was shot down because it could easily be mistaken for a real form of ID which these would not be. No one should be issued a legal form of ID by any state if they are not here legally. Thats not racist, thats not sexist, thats nothing. thats just a United States citizen wishing for the laws of my country to be enforced to their fullest extent.

"The sheriff has failed to show that the immigrant population in general is a threat to safety, necessitating focused resources. The sheriff provides no data to demonstrate that immigrants in the county are engaged in crime in numbers proportionally higher than the native-born population. Indeed, national data clearly demonstrates that the immigrant population as a whole is less likely to engage in crime than the native population."

STOP RIGHT THERE. IMMIGRANT DOES NOT EQUAL ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT. This county does not have a problem with legal immigrants just living their life same as the rest of us who were born here. If they aren't legally in the US then by definition they are already criminals so there really is no more need to go in depth.

Wellitsthetruth · April 6, 2017 at 11:19 am
Sheriff Mosier: Leave your application for 287(g) in

I believe the laws of the United States should be enforced to their fullest extent.
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