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April 13, 2017

Town hall crowd against sheriff’s immigration plan

Other Coverage
> Click here to watch WRC-TV 4’s report on Sheriff Bob Mosier’s application for the Fauquier County Detention Center’s participation in the federal program.
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For the first time in his 16 months as Fauquier’s sheriff, Bob Mosier faced an outpouring of public criticism Wednesday night.

More than 180 people attended one of Sheriff Mosier’s routine town hall meetings that turned into a debate about his application to join a federal immigration enforcement program.

“No!” shouted most of those in a party tent at Vint Hill when an audience member asked if they support the program.

> Video at bottom of story

The sheriff defended his decision to apply for the county jail to join the Department of Homeland Security’s 287(g) program. It would authorize two jail staff members to enforce federal immigration laws under DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement training and supervision.

Participation would clarify some of what the jail staff already does, sharing information about everyone arrested on criminal charges with state and federal law enforcement agencies, the sheriff explained. The county jail detains for up to 48 hours those wanted by federal authorities.

But, that extra detention — used 13 times last year in Fauquier — takes place without federal warrants, something the new program would fix, he said.

Sheriff Mosier repeated assertions that patrol deputies would not look for undocumented immigrants and the program would apply only to those “who cross the threshold of the jail.”

The program would help protect undocumented immigrants, the most common victims of crimes that those with the same status commit, he added.

“You need to trust your law enforcement and you need to trust your leaders,” the sheriff said.

For the first hour of Wednesday’s meeting, he stuck to the town hall script, covering topics ranging from opiate abuse and traffic patrols to daily public reports and the relaunched Law Enforcement Explorer post.

But, everyone knew why the crowd had gathered.

The sheriff foreshadowed the debate 30 minutes into the meeting: “I have a broad background in law enforcement. I also have a pretty broad background in human rights.”

He worked a decade for the International Justice Mission on cases ranging from human trafficking in Asia to ethnic violence in Bosnia.

When Sheriff Mosier opened the floor to a half-hour of questions at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, his staff drew 15 tickets of more than 80 distributed in a “lottery.”

“What do you know that all of the other sheriffs in Virginia don’t know?” asked Dennis Ruhl of Warrenton, referring to the fact that the Prince William County jail stands as the only 287(g) participant in the commonwealth.

“We’re operating in a gray area right now,” the sheriff responded. “I can’t speak for the other sheriffs.

“If we don’t have a criminal warrant . . . . I do not want to hold someone.”

Mr. Ruhl replied: “We didn’t elect you to be an immigration enforcement officer.”

Ann Masch, a former school bus driver from Markham, said: “I do not buy the part about you protecting immigrants” with the stepped-up enforcement.

Ms. Masch said the application has scared the immigrant community. She asked how the sheriff would react in a case of school violence if he learned that an immigrant student knew something bad would happen but feared telling anyone because of his family’s status.

The sheriff promised nothing would happen to the family if that hypothetical student came forward.

“You have to be the person to change that” fear — a suggestion he repeated throughout the evening, calling on citizens to learn about the program and to help dispel “misinformation.”

Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations Chairman Edgar Aranda called the sheriff’s office “trust with the community . . . very, very thin.”

Sheriff Mosier said: “It’s a legitimate concern. Folks, we are not gonna patrol the streets enforcing immigration (laws). It’s only in the jail.”

Former county Supervisor Georgia Herbert of The Plains thanked the sheriff for his willingness to discuss the issue.

“You have a room full of people who don’t agree with you. It’s a very difficult issue for many of our friends and neighbors,” Ms. Herbert said. She expressed concerns about the effect on people not accused of crimes who get caught up in the system.

The sheriff again said that his jail’s participation would require ICE to amend its standard agreement and exclude civil violations.

“This is something that they would have to agree to or we wouldn’t do it,” Sheriff Mosier said. “You guys can hold my feet to the fire.”

In an interview after the meeting, the sheriff said he has not discussed the possibility of amending the standard 287(g) “Memorandum of Agreement” with any federal official.

He also would “write a letter” to help an undocumented “cooperating witness” in a criminal case get a visa, the sheriff added. “I’ve had two requests from attorneys in the last 30 days.”

Ceres Artico, a psychologist who has lived in Warrenton 30 years, said an arrest “doesn’t mean you’ve been convicted” and expressed concern about due process.

“Who’s taking care of the kids?” when a parent or parents remain jailed on a detainer that applies only to an undocumented immigrant, Dr. Artico asked.

“I think my fears are rational,” she added. “They are not emotional.”

“They would have to complete the judicial process,” Sheriff Mosier said. “If acquitted, they’re released.”

The question-and-answer session ended after 12 exchanges and 30 minutes. But, the sheriff remained for an hour, talking with those who oppose his plan.

“I’d like to develop a strategy to help people living in the shadows,” Sheriff Mosier told Mr. Aranda.

“Thank you, sheriff, but we are very concerned,” Mr. Aranda replied. “We have been advocating against this program since it started . . . .

“It’s very damaging to the community.”

Asked later what he heard Wednesday night, the sheriff said: “Concern. People are questioning the intricacies of a Memorandum of Agreement. There’s some misinformation and some obvious opposition.”

Sheriff Mosier said he will continue to listen and to explain his position.

As she left, Warrenton resident Jean Boenish echoed others who criticized the meeting’s format, which left little time for give-and-take on the hot-button issue that produced 10 times the normal attendance at a sheriff’s town hall meeting.

“He didn’t want to hear from anybody,” Ms. Boenish said. “He just wanted people to listen to him.”

After the informal voice vote on his application for the federal program, the sheriff said: “Is this a great country or what?”

“Used to be,” Dr. Artico said, heading into darkness outside the Inn at Vint Hill’s big tent.

Delaplane filmmaker Tom Davenport shot this video of the meeting’s conclusion:

Meeting at Vint Hill from Folkstreams on Vimeo.

Member comments
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Virtus · April 21, 2017 at 7:34 pm
I would like to relay that the citizenry of Fauquier should be concerned about the Sheriff's efforts to address burglaries & other crimes.

I had considered attending the town hall but did not want to be party to the incivility of individuals that do not seem to appreciate all that the Sheriff and his deputies do to Fauquier County safe.

If I had attended I would have asked about the proximity of the gang violence but was concerned the town meeting would turn into a protest.

Isn't it time we return to providing our respect and treating our elected leaders with civility when discussing issues?
nonewtaxes · April 14, 2017 at 9:37 pm
jg, please explain "if illegals commit crimes..." If they are illegal havent they already committed a crime hence illegal?
MikeR · April 14, 2017 at 2:56 pm
@Hannibal your stuff is loaded with errors and misleading assertions, at best! Typical fake news. Here are the facts which conflict each one of your crazy points! BTW, this refutation was written in 2009.
Jim Griffin · April 14, 2017 at 11:46 am
NNT: I did not suggest such a thing. They are criminals if they are illegal. However, the encounter with the government typically starts with the allegation of a legal infraction, which is why our sheriff's office is involved.

To be clear, the sheriff's office is saying it does not enforce immigration laws and will not detain unless there is a serious crime involving bodily harm, etc. The sheriff also says he will not detain merely for notice from the INS. Take issue with sheriff if you will, I like him and think he is balanced in his enforcement of the law. He and his deputies seem to have level heads to me.

As a result, we are generally dealing with the allegation of two separate crimes, each from different governments (unless the allegation is for violation of federal law). Let the feds do their job, let ours focus here, and they should cooperate according to their good judgment, which is part of why the DHS/CBP directives are voluntary.
nonewtaxes · April 14, 2017 at 10:37 am
jg: You suggest that an illegal immigrant needs to commit a crime to be a criminal suggest you do not grasp the concept of "illegal". Living here without the rights of a natural citizen or permission of the government ie illegally is an illegal act. It is not required that they perform an additional illegal act to be an outlaw. · April 14, 2017 at 9:10 am
I support the sheriff. Enuf said. Listen to his words. We should be glad he is willing to weed out the really bad in our community.
Hanibal · April 13, 2017 at 11:52 pm
The MSM doesn't want to report the obvious. Once city's across the
country begin announcing they will not be sanctuary all their illegals,
criminals, gang members fleeing ICE will flock to the nearest welcoming sanctuary city. In any event, here is a cost analysis breakdown. ... ...

Nearly One Million Sex Crimes Committed by Illegal Immigrants In The United States.

30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens.Does not include local jails and State Prisons.

$12 Billion dollars a year is spent on primary and secondary school
education for children here illegally and they cannot speak a word of

$17 Billion dollars a year is spent for education for the American-born children of illegal aliens, known as anchor babies.

$2.2 Billion dollars a year is spent on food assistance programs such as
(SNAP) food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches for illegal aliens.

$22 billion is spent on (AFDC) welfare to illegal aliens each year.

$3 Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens.

illegal aliens sent home $62 BILLION in remittances back to their countries of origin. -------This is why Mexico is getting involved in our

$200 Billion Dollars a year in suppressed American wages are caused by the illegal aliens.


Senate Judiciary Committee.
Remembrance Project.
Center for Immigration Studies.
Federation for American Immigration Reform.
House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Investigations.
Inter-American Development Bank.
Violent Crimes Institute.
Federation for American Immigration Reform.
Immigration Studies Program.
Illegal Alien Crime Report.
Memorial to victims of Illegal Alien Crime.
Anndeans · April 13, 2017 at 11:00 pm
Citizen Observer I can take care of my family and exercise my duty as a citizen in a representative government all on the same night.
Anndeans · April 13, 2017 at 10:56 pm
Ellen Messick I regret that last comment but it was not directed at the Sheriff. It was for the folks who say reprehensible things about defenseless people that I like. And at this point I don't think anyone is listening unless it's to the folks who I described in such unflattering terms.
MikeR · April 13, 2017 at 10:41 pm
Wow. The more I think about this guy's comment the more angry I get. He is not a leader! He leads a staff of men and women who report to him. First, he is a politician! He needs to get elected to serve! Serve! He does not lead the community in any fashion! He serves! This is the problem with some jurisdictions and their military policing attitude. Cut the SWAT team. Get more involved in church, school, firehouses and neighborhoods
MikeR · April 13, 2017 at 10:21 pm
Well, not just me. But, the general population. If a sheriff or town council member or Congressman or Senator thinks he or she is a leader then they are living in the 15th century. You've been selected for your position because of trust in judgment not leadership qualities. That selection process is left for and good for the Boy Scouts.
MikeR · April 13, 2017 at 10:15 pm
“You need to trust your law enforcement and you need to trust your leaders,” the sheriff said. That comment is enough to keep me awake all night. I have no leaders. I rely on ELECTED OFFICIALS! who must serve me!
Jim Griffin · April 13, 2017 at 9:37 pm
NNT: Apparently you are unable to grasp that when apprehended as a suspect there is one crime involved and their legal status in this country is another, separate issue. When this happens, we need to resolve both issues, and typically one is state/local, the immigration issue federal, all of which calls for two separate proceedings.

Wellitsthetruth: You are correct -- now (and we are both correct today because there are many who get around the rules). This is an evolving issue, but it is a fact that many illegal immigrants have joined our military (over-zealous recruiters chasing bonuses?) despite the rules. In addition, during the wars our nation has fought, the rules were changed during those times to encourage the enlistment of, yes, illegal aliens. Specifically encouraged and recruited.

Will you be surprised to learn illegal immigrants are subject to the draft? Or that Trump wants them in the military?

Check these links out:
nonewtaxes · April 13, 2017 at 8:28 pm
"First of all, I suspect you agree that if illegals commit crimes..." LOL
How can you call them illegals and then question if they are committing a crime?
Ellen Messick · April 13, 2017 at 7:15 pm
Anndeans: I was reading with interest and an open mind until I reached the part of your post "I'm sick to death of having policy driven by a bunch of over paid contracted or subcontracted government workers who sit on their couches with their hands down their pants while watching Fox News. " I would like to hear both sides of the argument, but it is impossible when we stoop to insulting one another. Come on. Our Sheriff was elected by this community. He is doing his best to listen to all input and to be fair and just while enforcing the law to the best of his ability. He is not perfect. He is not going to be exactly what every citizen expects him to be, but he deserves our respect. Critical as we may be, do not forget that your sheriff's department will be the first to come to the aid of you and your family when you are in need. Let's rise to a standard of respectful discussion on topics upon which we disagree.
Wellitsthetruth · April 13, 2017 at 5:57 pm
Jim: I get your quotations but to avoid any misunderstanding by anyone, Illegal/undocumented immigrants cannot serve in the United States armed forces, as once they start the process to join the armed forces they are now on the process to naturalization thus no longer an undocumented/illegal immigrant

"In order for an immigrant to join the United States military, they must first go through the immigration process of the USCIS (previously known as the INS) and then begin the enlisting process. Another requirement is that the Green Card and/or visa of the immigrant desiring to join the military must be valid for the entire period of their enlistment. Undocumented immigrants may not enlist in the U.S. military."


Tell It Like It Is · April 13, 2017 at 5:34 pm
Vint Hill is too close to Northern VA libs anyway.

Maybe NOVA has got something decent to trade for VH??

Jim Griffin · April 13, 2017 at 5:11 pm
Martinkus: Your statement is at odds with Sheriff Mosier's position, which I will cut and paste to avoid mistaken interpretation:

"(O)nly if the request is based on a felony or criminal violation involving bodily harm. The sheriff’s office will not hold a person for any agency based on a minor criminal violation, and it will not hold a person for INS based on the person’s immigration status or to enforce an INS civil warrant."

First of all, I suspect you agree that if illegals commit crimes they should first stand trial for the crime, and do the time, serve the punishment if they are found guilty. Immediate deportation stands in the way of a trial with no justice as the result.

Second, I will ask you what I've asked others: Do you feel the same if the "illegal" served in the US military with an honorable discharge?
martinkus · April 13, 2017 at 2:37 pm
These "snowflakes" do not comprehend the concept of "criminal activity by an illegal alien." Illegals, who commit crimes, should be handed over to ICE for deportation, period!

I am with Sheriff Mosier!
Wellitsthetruth · April 13, 2017 at 2:29 pm

"Mr. Ruhl replied: “We didn’t elect you to be an immigration enforcement officer.”

Thats the dumbest thing I've read all day, but it's partially right.. we didnt.. We elected him to enforce the laws of this county, state, and country... Oh wait thats what he is doing.. hmm
Wellitsthetruth · April 13, 2017 at 2:09 pm

Less than 200 people does not represent an accurate sample size.

Spin it however you want, when the majority of the county doesn't even bother to show up to these things coupled with the major support on every single one of these articles proves they have no issue with what the Sheriff wants to do.

At this point, Im just enjoying my popcorn watching this shitstorm and enjoying every second of it.
Anndeans · April 13, 2017 at 1:09 pm
Sheriff Mosier has decided to do this for reasons that don't jive with his explanations. What I noted last night was that when the crowd got loud after a citizen asked him why an immigrant would be treated any differently then anyone else in the arrest process he said "Because they don't belong here." He also repeatedly claimed that he was doing it to make the immigrant community safer because that's who victimizes them-other immigrants. Seriously? that is willful ignorance of victims in general. His job as the sheriff is to investigate crime and if he thinks this is going to allow him as a trustworthy individual amongst the immigrant population he's delusional. He's effectively rendered some portion of crime in this county victimless and without witnesses. Sounds like he made his job easier. But the immigrants in our county DO witness crime and are the victims of it and are now too scared to report. That is so wrong. Lastly think about all the wealthy immigrants in the metropolitan area that come out here on the weekends to the wineries, orchards, and inns for a taste of Fauquier's bucolic pleasures. This hostile move is going to drop those numbers once it gets the attention that it surely will. If it's being driven by people who are for it then all I can say is I'm sick to death of having policy driven by a bunch of over paid contracted or subcontracted government workers who sit on their couches with their hands down their pants while watching Fox News. It's a shame to see Fauquier join the ranks of Maricopa AZ and that lousy sheriff who I believe is on reality tv now. Sound like anyone else we have in charge?
citizen observer · April 13, 2017 at 12:10 pm
So only 180 people showed up against the sheriff while the other 65,023 people (based on 2016 population figures) stayed home to take care of their families. Possibly because they support him and didn't have time to waste at a political rally? Amazing how our media can spin a story! Stay strong Sheriff Moser.
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