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VA sanctuary county suspends officer who helped ICE arrest illegal alien

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents plan an early morning action on Monday, March 26, 2012, at the Los Angeles Sheriff Station parking lot in Valencia, Calif. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
October 02, 2019

A police officer in Fairfax County, Va. has been suspended after helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrest an illegal alien wanted for deportation by the federal agency.

Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. explained his decision to suspend one of his officers in a Tuesday press release. Fairfax County has declared itself a ‘sanctuary’

The officer in question, who has not been identified, was conducting a traffic accident near Alexandria, Va. when he noticed one of the drivers involved did not have a driver’s license. In the course of the officer’s efforts to obtain the driver’s DMV records, he received an ICE arrest notice that the driver had a warrant for failure to appear at a prior deportation court appearance.

The officer reportedly contacted the ICE officer listed on the warrant and confirmed the warrant’s validity through the ICE Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC). The officer then alerted the ICE officer, who was nearby, to the scene of the traffic accident. Though the officer provided a summons for the driver to appear in court for failure to show a driver’s license, the officer decided to perform a custodial detention of the driver at the scene, giving ICE time to arrive.

“If the response reads ‘OUTSTANDING ADMINISTRATIVE WARRANT OF REMOVAL’ and the individual is not in custody or being taken into custody for any other violation of law, officers shall not confirm the hit through LESC and shall not take the individual into custody based solely upon the IVF hit. The majority of such administrative warrants represent civil violations of immigration law,” a Fairfax police policy states.

Fairfax County officers are taught by the academy that they may not enforce or detain people for administrative warrants and have no authority to enforce federal law.

“Our police officer violated our longstanding policy and deprived a person of their freedom, which is unacceptable,” Roessler said.

He said he has directed an internal investigation of the officer and the officer has been relieved of all law enforcement duties pending the outcome of the investigation.

“Our county is one of the most diverse counties in the nation and no one should have the perception that FCPD is acting as a civil immigration agent for ICE,” Roessler said. “This matter damages our reputation and the longstanding policy that I have stated many times that our officers shall not act as immigration agents.”

The illegal alien detained by ICE was reportedly released later with an ankle monitor.

The policies of various cities, counties, and states acting as “sanctuaries” against federal immigration enforcement has become a particular issue under President Donald Trump’s administration.

This summer, several “sanctuary” jurisdictions refused to comply with federal immigration raids

In May, ICE criticized one California “sanctuary” city’s decision to release an illegal alien on bail despite their involvement in a fatal car crash.

“Sanctuary policies not only provide a refuge for illegal aliens, but they also shield criminal aliens who prey on people in their own and other communities,” ICE spokesman Paul Prince said of the May incident.