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Northern Va. County Ends ICE Program that Removed 9,500 Criminal Aliens

'Public safety is best served when law enforcement agencies work together...'

Celio Alexander Serrano–Trejo was arrested in November 2019 after Prince William County, Virginia police officers learned that Celio, an illegal immigrant, had a criminal warrant in his native El Salvador and was a member of the notoriously violent gang MS-13.

Police honored a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer and handed the dangerous gang member over to ICE agents for deportation hearings pursuant to federal law.

According to new data obtained by the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a pro-legal immigration group, Celio was one of 9,537 criminal illegal aliens the Prince William Police Department transferred to ICE since 2007.

But that partnership is now over.

The county’s Jail Board recently voted to let its “287(g) program” expire, which allows local jurisdictions to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement authorities.

Instead of honoring ICE detainers, criminal illegal aliens will now be released back to the streets.

“For the county to let its 287(g) program expire shows a shocking level of irresponsibility to its residents,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI.

“The fact that nearly 10,000 illegal aliens, many of whom were charged with violent crimes, were removed was a good thing,”he added. “There could be untold aliens facing murder, rape and drunk driving charges in that community who otherwise would be processed for deportation,”

Prince William County is located near Washington, D.C., and the local Jail Board has become majority-activist, according to Wilcox.

Prior to dumping the federal-state joint program, the Jail Board held hearings to bolster public support for its premeditated decision.

ICE officials attended the hearing and testified that 2,639 criminal aliens had been removed from the posh community since 2017, including 65 murder suspects and 277 alleged sexual assailants.

Going forward, such criminals will be released from local custody with the intention of helping them avoid deportation.

But ICE appears committed to public safety regardless of local government activism.

“Public safety is best served when law enforcement agencies work together,” an ICE spokesman said in a statement to IRIL.

“The Prince William County Jail Board’s decision to discontinue the 287(g) program will certainly have a direct impact on public safety in Prince William County, but [ICE] Enforcement and Removal Operations remains committed to working with the jail and the sheriff’s office for the safety of Prince William County residents.”

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