Feds threaten cuts to illegal immigration program

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – A program aimed at deporting illegal immigrants who commit crimes could be getting the ax.

The initiative, known as 287 (g), allows local police to coordinate with federal officials to determine the immigration status of anyone they arrest. Sixty-two communities participate in the $17 million program, which is facing a cutback for fiscal year 2013.

Prince William County was among the first communities to use the program, and Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart is angry about the cut. He credits 287 (g) with helping to decrease violent crime in his county by 48 percent since 2007.

“It’s the Obama administration playing politics with the public safety of Prince William County residents and frankly I’m steamed about it,” he says.

But Immigration and Customs Enforcement says another program that helps identify illegal immigrant inmates through fingerprints and interviews is more efficient.

“The Secure Communities screening process, coupled with federal officers, is more consistent, efficient and cost effective in identifying and removing criminal and other priority aliens,” ICE said in a statement.

Prince William County and the other participating communities have been told that 287 (g) has been extended until Dec. 31, but there is no commitment for the new year.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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