Illegal Immigration and Local Crime
I just had a conversation with a high level Loudoun County law enforcement officer who helped shed some light on the current situation here and some possible solutions. This is an individual who has great familiarity with the evolving situation "on the ground" in Loudoun County over the past decade, and who has nothing to gain from exaggerating one way or the other, because in their opinion the change is all going to have to occur at the federal level. I don't completely agree with that, but I also don't expect an L.E. to be considering issues related to business licenses and zoning and such. Because this is someone who considers themself not really having a dog in HelpSaveLoudoun's local fight, though, I give this person's appraisal a very high degree of credibility.
On one aspect of the issue, their observation confirms what many of us who live here have been observing: Local crime has increased with the increase of the illegal alien population. On another aspect, I got some constructive criticism of one of our agenda items, namely the 287g program for Loudoun, and also I got some clarification on the number of illegal alien detainees at the adult detention center, which I will take to heart. There is more violent crime as a result of the increase in illegals here over the past few years, but they don't all get caught and the makeup of the jail population has not been greatly changed.
Here's the conversation:
What impact has the increase in illegal immigration had on crime in the county?
It's had an impact in terms of the stabbings, the violent crimes, the robberies and things. You don't always catch them all, but we do pretty good with getting them deported, turning them over to ICE if we catch them - we have a pretty good relationship with them.
I don't think it's been huge as far as the inmate population goes. Once they do their time with us ICE usually picks them up. If it's drunk in public and stuff like that ICE won't take them for that. The Feds need to do more, I think, on their side of things. But it's not a huge issue for us right now, from a jail perspective.
From a crime on the street perspective, it's a big deal.
What's the answer?
It's almost going to have to be federal issue, because just being here illegally is not enough to have anything done with you. We pick up a drunk in public or any number of other things, and unless they've committed a crime the Feds won't deal with them because they're so overloaded. Even in some cases when you deport somebody they're back here in 30 days. We just had a stabbing here in Leesburg, and one of the guys who was involved had been deported about 45 days prior. It's just a revolving door. We send them back, they come back here. Nothing happens to them over there. I don't know what the answer is, but it's trying to find a way to keep them out, or to make it more severe when they're caught.
Deporting is not that big a deal for some of them. For some of them it is, and they're afraid of that. But a lot of them who have been through the system, they know that somehow they're going to come back.
It's got to happen on the federal level, because our hands are tied. With this 287g - there's only so much we can do with that. We can't even do really what we're doing right now. Because the ultimate decision's up to the Feds, and if they don't want to take them they don't have to take them. I think the expectation about that program, for some people, is that once we do this we can just - if there are ten people standing in front of 7-11 who are here illegally we can just get them all out of here. It's not going to do all that. All it's going to do is, basically, what we currently do, but there are actually some more restrictions.
So we're better off without it because of the relationship we have with ICE now. If we have that (287g) agreement, the inmate we have automatically stays here because they don't have any place to put them. If (currently) it's a local inmate, after they've done their time with us, they're obligated to pick them up within 24-48 hours. If we have the agreement we have to house them. Yeah, they (ICE) will pay us, but it's a matter of space for us. So we'd like to have the training, but we don't know: If we have the agreement, it might hurt us. And if we don't do it the community's going to kill us, so I don't know - it's a damned if you do, damned if you don't...and just talking about illegal immigration can make it sound like now you're a Nazi.
Regarding that last note: I'm going to maintain this person's anonymity.
I'll also note that the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office is the best in the entire NOVA region - I am told - as far as working with ICE. Our public safety department in the county is doing more without 287g than they might be able to do with it. The argument that 287g would force Loudoun County to keep illegal detainees, while under the current arrangement ICE comes and takes them within 48 hours, is a pretty compelling one.
I imagine the fact that Dulles airport and innumerable government agencies and contractors are located in Loudoun County is one element that makes our jurisdiction a relatively high priority for the Feds, so maybe our Sheriff's Office is already getting what other departments would only get via 287g.
Now, go read BVBL right now for another perspective related to this issue. He's dug out an amazing instance of Virginia governmental political correctness subverting public safety.
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