BREAKING: Sheriff Simpson Changes Course, Agrees To Seek 287g Agreement With ICE

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Loudoun County Sheriff Steve Simpson addresses the board of supervisors earlier today


Announcing "the presentation's probably going to be a little different than I had planned" Loudoun County Sheriff Steve Simpson today informed the board of supervisors that new conditions and reimbursements allowed by the federal Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have convinced him that his department should seek a memorandum of understanding for Loudoun County deputies to receive immigration enforcement training under the federal 287g program.

(More background on 287g here and here).

Simpson said he had looked into the ICE training last year after it was brought to the board's attention. In his early meetings with the ICE officials "they had said a number of different things the program could and could not do" for the Loudoun County Sheriff's Department, which led Simpson to believe the 287g program would not augment the department's current working relationship with ICE, would be expensive and would, in fact, make it more difficult to get the feds to pick up detainees.

Simpson said several days ago he was discussing the program with one of the ICE agents assigned to the Loudoun County gang unit, and the agent said "you should give it another look" because of a change in personnel and policies at the bureau. After talking to a new ICE contact, Simpson learned the bureau would now guarantee all detainees would be picked up within 72 hours and would reimburse local jurisdictions for expenses incurred to transport prisoners. (Holding more federal detainees often requires the department to incur overtime expenses transporting local detainees to other jurisdictions.)

Therefore, Simpson told the board, if ICE will guarantee "in writing" what he was told on the phone, he would quickly seek to enter into an agreement to have gang intelligence unit and Adult Detention Center deputies receive the ICE training.

Over the past two weeks and up until just a few days ago, Simpson and Greg Ahlemann, challenger for the Republican nomination for Sheriff, have engaged in a debate in the local press (also here) over whether the 287g program is needed in the department.

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Greg Ahlemann, challenger for the Republican nomination for Loudoun County Sheriff


Ahlemann has maintained that as a matter of community safety the program is a "no brainer," and said contacting ICE would be his first order of business his first day in office if elected.

Simpson had maintained the ICE training would not be an improvement.

(More from Simpson and Ahlemann here.)

Ahlemann questioned Simpson's explanation that new policies at ICE are responsible for the change, saying "the federal government is not going to change their ICE agreement for Loudoun County." Noting that Simpson's testimony today echoed statements Ahlemann has made in the press recently, Ahlemann characterized the Sheriff's change of heart as a "flip flop" for political purposes in response to the growing publicity of the issue in their campaign and that this week is a politically significant time period. (Last week, the Loudoun County Republican Committee reissued its Call for the June 9 convention, re-opening a one-week window - this week - for the candidates to sign up new delegates.)

Simpson responded that "if it was political I would have done this months ago...I met with [ICE} and the initial responses I got from them were not where we needed to go."

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3 Comments

Greg Ahlemann said:

I am personally pleased that the Sheriff has accepted this program. After taking a beating in the press for weeks over his stance, he has responded with what our County has needed for some time. However, the Sheriff's explanation for changing his mind was that now ICE will "pay for the tranportation of inmates" so he does not have to pay 2 deputies overtime, is very weak. The Joseph Passarelli tragedy alone makes this excuse unacceptable. I won't bore you with quote after quote the Sheriff has made over the last several months as to why he would not take on ICE training, but his most recent point is that "zoning" is the way to deal with it. While I consider my self to be a fiscal conservative, I have no problem with explaining to the Board of Supervisors or the citizens of Loudoun County that when I'm elected Sheriff I have exceeded my budget for the jail because we arrested too many illegal immigrants who are guilty of violent crimes in Loudoun County. Is this not the job of the Sheriff's office. Protect the innocent and enforce the law. I have yet to meet anyone who has told me they would prefer to save $10 a year on their property taxes by allowing violent offenders to go free because the Sheriff did not want to pay for the overtime. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of this program will only be as successful as the sincerity of the Sheriff enforcing it.

Had Enough said:

I believe that if this is enforced, crime will go down because the illegals will know that they will be turned over to ICE.

Hopefully, they will leave the are as they have done in other cities that are cracking down.

When they are no longer welcome, they usually move on. The problem is that everyday more arrive.

They are avoiding and leaving high profile anti-illegal cities.

We need to start at the canadian border and slowly work south until all of them are back over the border. That goes for the others (OTM'S) that used the border to enter.

jacob said:

Simpson has adopted the program to difuse the issue. If reelected he will weasel out of it. The guy is in the pocket of the developers in the county. His "my budget does have room for prosecuting law breakers (spelled 'illegals')" is ludicrous.

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