ICE 287(g) program was central issue in Prince William County sheriff election

Under the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 287(g) program, agreements are made with local law enforcement agency that permit local officers to place immigration detainers and warrants on illegal immigrants. As of July 2019, ICE had 287(g) agreements with a total of 89 local authorities in 21 states. Almost every existing agreement was made with a county sheriff's office.

Only two of those 287(g) programs are in the state of Virginia. Once is with the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office, and the other is with the Prince William-Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center, which serves Prince William County, Virginia, as well as the independent cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.

The candidates for sheriff in Prince William County disagree on whether cooperation with ICE should continue, and the election contest has become a focus of outside interest as a result. The considerable financial resources of George Soros have been used to tilt the balance of contributions in the favor of the candidate who would shield illegal aliens from ICE.

The Incumbent: Sheriff Glendell Hill

The 287(g) program was first approved by the Prince William Board of County Supervisors in 2007, and this June it was extended for an additional year.

Sheriff Glen Hill is a Republican who is seeking a fourth term, having begun to serve in that capacity in 2004. As chairman of the Prince William-Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center board of directors, HIll was the one who signed the extension agreement with ICE in June.

The jail board would have the authority to vote to discontinue the 287(g) program.

The Challenger: Deputy Sheriff Joshua King

Fairfax County Deputy Sheriff Joshua King will be the Democratic Party's candidate for Prince William Sheriff in 2019, having lost in an attempt to become a member of the Virginia House of Delegates in 2015, and having lost in a primary contest for the same legislative body, in 2017.

King has promised to use his vote on the jail board and the sheriff's considerable influence with the county board of supervisors to end cooperation with ICE via the 287(g) agreement, claiming this would constitute a first step in rebuilding trust between law enforcement and our majority-minority community. In a forum for primary candidates, King said the 287(g) program has been used to discriminate against people of color.

Cooperation with ICE becomes a central election issue

On August 1, Josh King sent out a campaign email attacking Hill on the immigration question. Citing a local editorial, King wrote One in four people in Prince William … are immigrants, and yet Sheriff Glen Hill has deputized local law enforcement officers to act as agents of Trump’s ICE.

Sheriff Glen Hill responded the following day. A copy of Josh King's letter was posted to the Facebook page for his reelection campaign, with this response: Candidate for Sheriff Josh King just lied to you again. I do not have any of my staff deputized to act as local law enforcement agents for ICE or for President Trump..

Strictly speaking, the refutation is correct. No one has literally been “deputized”, i.e. no one has been made a Deputy Sheriff just for this program. As the official U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement description explains, 287(g) programs permit designated officers to perform limited immigration law enforcement functions.

George Soros gets involved

On September 17, the Washington Post revealed that the George Soros-funded Democracy PAC has given $50,000 to support the candidacy of Josh King. This follows more than $1 million in donations from the same PAC, that helped tip Democratic primaries for prosecutor in Arlington and Fairfax counties in Northern Virginia to “progressive” challengers in June.

The contribution from Soros’s PAC gives Joshua King a large fundraising advantage, the Post adds. With this donation, he has raised about $88,000 compared to Glendell Hill’s $61,000 during this election cycle, according to Virginia campaign finance records.

Update: Election results for Sheriff in Prince William County

Despite sweeping Democratic Party victories in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Republican incumbent Glen Hill prevailed on Election Day. Still, the results were incredibly narrow. Glen Hill was elected to his fifth term, receiving 56,282 votes, while 55,520 citizens voted for Joshua King.

Update 2: The arrest of an El Salvadoran MS-13 member

On January 30, 2020, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations posted a news release describing the case of Celio Alexander Serrano Trejo, a 33 year-old Salvadoran national.

On November 10, 2019, the Prince William County Police Department arrested Serrano for possession of controlled substances. The suspect is wanted in El Salvador for his participation in MS-13 and is the subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice. On November 11, a designated immigration officer with the ICE 287(g) Program at the Prince William-Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center in Manassas, Virginia served Celio Alexander Serrano Trejo with a warrant of arrest and an immigration detainer. He was transferred to ICE custody and will remain there pending the results of his removal proceedings.

The citizens of Prince William County acted wisely when they reelected Glendell Hill for Sheriff.

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