287(g) Enforcement Training Moves Forward in Loudoun

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At the October 17 meeting of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, your humble narrator represented HelpSaveLoudoun by delivering a brief presentation to accompany HSL's Proposal to the Board regarding ICE training for Sheriff's Office personnel.

This followed Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio's initiative last month requesting Sheriff Steve Simpson seek training for local officers under the ICE 287(g) program which provides training and authorization for local law enforcement personnel to serve as force multipliers for ICE.

In layman's language, the 287(g) authorization allows local law enforcement personnel to do what most citizens think their public safety officers already do. For instance, if an illegal alien is involved in an auto accident or stopped by police, the current practice apparently is to not issue a citation if at all possible because illegal immigration is a "federal" matter. The local cops don't have authority to deal with it. With the ICE authorization, illegal aliens are more likely to be detained and - by virtue of access to the ICE biometric database - the cops can quickly check their status and detain them if they are found to be in the US illegally.

Leesburg Today initially reported Sheriff Simpson was looking into the matter:

Seeking to bring the Loudoun County government into the debate over illegal immigration enforcement, Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) asked the sheriff Tuesday night to participate in a national program that provides training required for local deputies to perform certain duties of federal immigration enforcement officers.

Loudoun Sheriff Stephen O. Simpson told supervisors that he needed to review the program, called Section 287(g)-an amendment to the 1996 Immigration and Nationality Act-before he could make a decision on whether he wanted his deputies to take the training...

"It's kind of a toss up right now about what it's going to do for us," Simpson said about the program. "At minimum, we get some good training out of it."

Hearing the sheriff's concerns, Delgaudio asked Simpson to return to the Nov. 20 Public Safety Committee meeting with a report on his findings and statistics of the number of illegal immigrants detained in the Adult Detention Center. Simpson said he was aware of at least nine federal deportation detainers for locally held inmates.

Today's Washington Post reports the Sheriff is now moving forward on getting some of his deputies trained:

Loudoun County Sheriff Stephen O. Simpson (R) told several members of the Loudoun Board of Supervisors this week that he would like some officers in his gang unit to receive the federal training. Last month, Herndon Police Chief Toussaint E. Summers Jr. also expressed interest.

Simpson's proposal received a warm reception Wednesday from several county supervisors. The full board may vote on the issue before year's end.

"Several" supervisors is encouraging, because at the October 17 public hearing only Supervisor Delgaudio commented on our presentation.

Kudos and thanks to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and Sheriff Simpson for pushing ahead on getting ICE training for some of Loudoun's finest. If any county in the nation deserves to have this authority, Loudoun's officers should be the top of the list.

You can read the entire HSL proposal here.

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zimzo said:

I just returned from a short visit to Virginia where I stayed with a policeman who is an old friend of mine and spoke to a number of other policeman from various jurisdictions. Every one of them was opposed to becoming immigration enforcement officers and said that it made their jobs more difficult because of the suspicion it would sow among immigrants in the community. Basically they confirmed what I said here, which no one has been able to refute:


These weren't "higher ups" or police chiefs but the men and women in the trenches. If anything, it sounds like the Loudon County sherrif is exploiting this issue for partisan political purposes. The police I spoke to also expressed irritation at the number of trivial complaints they received from local citizens about immigrants that they characterized as stemming from little more than intolerance.

I also got the chance to speak to some recents immigrants (I'm fluent in Spanish) and was appalled by some of the stories I heard about the harassment and racism they had encountered in Virginia.

The amount of time it took me to drive short distances not just in Northern Virginia but even to points south was further confirmation of what I had been reading of the explosive growth in the area, which is what seems to be behind this scapegoating of immigrants. But Virginia also has had explosive growth of legal Latino immigrants who can vote. I suspect they will not take too kindly to Republican efforts to scapegoat them, something Pete Wilson in California learned the hard way.

When I first left Virginia a number of years ago I found myself defending my homestate from the perception that it was a racist bastion of the Old South. These attitudes seemed to have decreased in recent years. But with recent news of George Allen's pretty blatant racist attitudes and the liklihood of his being reelected it's amazing how this perception has once again reared its ugly head. I've always thought these stereotypes were unfair and I have always found myself defending Virginia, pointing out that it is a complex and diverse state, especially Northern Virginia. Sadly, my recent trip there did not give me much ammunition. I hope Virginia will do me proud by making a statement that it is looking to future and not the past by rejecting George Allen at the polls and resisting the scapegoating of its Latino population. Based on what I saw on my admittedly brief trip, I am not optimistic.

Jack said:

Am I to understand, zimzo, that you do not live in Virginia? Thank you for brightening my day!

Ha! Zimzo with the firsthand accounts again. Burning up the shoe leather, haven't we been?

Please give us more detail on how you ran into "a number of other policeman from various jurisdictions." Did this entail driving from station to station, or did you just flag them over when you drove up next to a different colored cop car? Seriously, I'd like to know how one manages to talk to such a huge diversity of officers in a short time.

Too bad you did not manage to talk to any in the Gang Intelligence Unit in Loudoun - one of the more important local sub groups and very open about talking with members of the community. They want the 287(g) training.

And, yeah, once again I prostrate myself before your superior powers of observation: All this concern about illegal aliens is ACTUALLY about the real problem. Traffic. The thousands and thousands of bicycles clogging our highways and byways.

zimzo said:

I don't pretend that the observations I made on my brief visit were anything more than impressionistic. As I said before, I happen to know a lot of policeman and I was staying with one. Believe it or not police often socialize with other police. I already pointed out in another post that police organizations and police chiefs oppose turning local law enforcement officers into immigration officers. You claimed it was because they were political appointees. I was just pointing out that the officers I spoke to also don't want to be immigration officers. Apparently (correct me if I'm wrong) you haven't spoken to any law enforcement officers about this issue so my small survey already trumps your complete lack of information.

The reason that local police do not want to be immigration officers is obvious to anyone who understands anything about police work. Solving and preventing crimes depends on witnesses and cooperation from the community. When one community feels they are being harassed by the police, cooperation dries up. You actually don't need to know anything about police work to see the logic of that.

But feel free to mock my perspective because it does not jibe with yours. Go ahead and vote for someone the rest of the country believes is a racist and continue harassing immigrants. It's hard to see how you guys could make Virginia look worse at this point. And it makes me look better because people wonder how someone so open-minded and progressive emerged from such a backward state.

Zimzo, I'm mocking you because you are either a REALLY bad reader, or a total liar. Gosh, deja vu.


Your small survey doesn't trump anything at all, it turns out.

But there's more: Read the pdf of our proposal. We have researched this not just locally but nationally. Your point about losing witness cooperation is flat wrong. ICE enforcement is a net plus wherever it's being used. No jurisdiction has reported ANY downside.

Though amazingly ill- informed on certain topics, your tenacity and willingness to lead with your chin is impressive.

Sorry to be so blunt but you're the one who came barging in calling us racists and waving the banner of righteousness (again).

By the way, can you please let me know which jurisdictions are so adamantly opposed to ICE enforcement authority?

zimzo said:

Here is what you write in your proposal:

"Some law enforcement agency representatives have raised concerns that empowering local officers with immigration enforcement authority could “foster mistrust of police in immigrant communities.” [Attachment 1 - Washington Post, Sept. 23, 2006, “Loudoun Mulls Enforcement Training.”] Although this claim is repeated quite often by the news media, HelpSaveLoudoun could find no studies that support this view. Regardless of the current crime rate in Loudoun County that can be attributed to members of immigrant communities, the Sheriff’s Office should have every necessary tool for enforcement and prevention."

That's your proof? That you could "find no studies." I guess you missed this 2005 study by the Migration Policy Institute:


Or these study of the breakdown in relations between police and the Arab-American community after 9/11 and how it has hampered law enforcement:


I guess you've never seen any of these anecdotal reports from across the nation:


Here are some quotes from the Washington Post article you cite:

"Other jurisdictions and agencies, including Virginia State Police, have passed on it, afraid that it might foster mistrust of police in immigrant communities. Yesterday, police in Fairfax, Arlington and Prince Williams counties all said they had no immediate plans to pursue it.

"The issue of local enforcement of federal immigration laws is complex and poses difficult circumstances for police departments," Arlington police spokesman John Lisle said yesterday. He said the department will continue to focus on its "primary mission of enforcing state and local criminal laws."

In Herndon, some immigrant advocates have denounced the idea, saying it would deepen the perception that the western Fairfax town is hostile to foreign-born residents."

Coincidentally, the police officers I spoke to came from these all of these jurisdictions as well as Alexandria. So you may be right that officers from Loudon County and Herndon support these efforts and that the perception that they are uniquely hostile to immigrants is a correct one. I guess the overwhelming number of jurisdictions in the United States that have policies in place that severely limit local police from enforcing immigration law aren't as enlightened as the wonderful folks in Herndon and Louden county:


Finally, Joe, I have not called you a racist. I said that is the growing perception by many in the rest of the country because of the attacks on immigrants and support for George Allen in Virginia. And try not to decend to Jack's level and call me a liar even if you have nothing more constructive to say.

zimzo said:

Joe, please check limbo for my reply.

You did not read through to the agencies we contacted and the success stories.

I did not say, no law enforcement personnel have been skeptical of the program. It is a section of our proposal, after all - which is intended to provide a full, objective overview of the program.

The reason I asked about the jurisdictions is because I read the article we included as an attachment and suspected you were talking about Alex. or Arlington.

The Fairfax Sheriff opposeds the program and (originally) Herndon Chief of Police a Loudoun Sheriff did also. So yes, I know there are opponents within the law enforcement community.

Herndon and Loudoun have borne the brunt of illegal immigration in the past five years and residents have seen the most dramatic increase of related problems - THAT'S why the police are changing their policies.

Maybe I was wrong to imply you may be a liar. It would have been more accurate to say you have an amazing capacity to pontificate on matters about which you are uninformed, and cast aspersions on all who, because of personal knowledge to the contrary, dare disagree with your clueless proclamations.

I do like your spirit, but eventually you need to admit to the possibility you may not be omniscient.

zimzo said:

I am fully willing to concede I am not omniscient. I do think I know a lot more about these issues than you think I know. As to who knows more about these issues, I think we both are pretty certain of our positions and neither of us is going to convince the other to give up much ground. While you may be right that Herndon and Loudoun County are changing their policies because they have suffered the brunt of immigration that does not mean that these policies are wise ones. The fact that there are many jurisdictions that have equal or greater problems and have refused to instigate these policies tells me that there is quite a bit of doubt as to whether they are a good idea for the reasons I have already cited. Unfortunately, the potential damage is great and your disregard and dismissive attitude toward evidence of the potential ill-effects leads me to believe that you have not really considered how disastrous such policies could be. I think the draconian measures that many conservatives and Republicans have supported with very little thought on such issues as the War on Terror, Iraq and Immigration is what is turning many people off. I guess we'll see in November.

Jack said:


What is "evidence of the potential ill-effects"? Have other jurisdictions tried this program? What were the effects, positive and negative? THAT is evidence. People, even police officer, can pontificate about potentials all they want, but it is not evidence.

For example, many "experts," even some police officers, said that Concealed Carry laws would make for "Wild West" shoot-outs all over the place. In fact, violent crime has gone down faster in states that have passed CCW than in those that haven't. Some states were bold enough to try it, and it worked. When more jurisdictions take the step to immigration enforcement, then we will have some evidence to discuss.

Since you don't live here anymore, why do you even care whether we try it in Northern Virginia?

zimzo said:

Read the sites I linked to, Jack.

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