BREAKING: Sheriff Simpson Changes Course, Agrees To Seek 287g Agreement With ICE
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.
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.
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."
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: BREAKING: Sheriff Simpson Changes Course, Agrees To Seek 287g Agreement With ICE.
TrackBack URL for this entry: