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Pr. William Co. seeks tougher immigration enforcement

Prince William County supervisors, led by Chairman Corey Stewart seen here in this December 2016 file photo, plan to urge the Trump administration to crack down on immigrant in the county illegally who commit crimes. The county also wants more information about the fate of such individuals when the county turns them over to federal immigration enforcement. (AP File Photo/Steve Helber)

WASHINGTON — Supervisors in Prince William County are asking the new Trump administration to get tougher and to be more transparent about the fate of immigrants who are in the country illegally and were involved in criminal activity here.

During a Tuesday Board of Supervisors meeting, Chairman Corey Stewart said he wants the federal government to provide information about how many people have been deported after they were arrested for crimes in the county and had entered the country illegally.

“Our police officers have spent a lot of time apprehending illegal immigrants who have committed crimes, only to find out they’ve been released,” said Stewart, a Republican candidate for governor.

In recent years, county police have referred more than 7,000 such individuals to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. And county leaders have been unsuccessful in obtaining information from the federal government about whether those criminal suspects were deported or released.

Stewart is hoping the Department of Homeland Security under new leadership will be more responsive to county officials’ requests for information.

“We request the administration to relay the status of those individuals to our police department and our courts,” he said.

Supervisor Jeanine Lawson sided with Stewart.

“I certainly would like to know the status of the illegal residents who are violating the law and specifically are violent criminals,” she said.

Stewart said the county executive’s office would draft a formal letter to the Department of Homeland Security, asking for the information. The letter will also ask the department to crack down on undocumented immigrants who commit crimes and to ensure they are sent out of the country, Stewart said.

“We’ve got the policy in place and we’re enforcing it. But it seems to me it’s not going to do a lot of good if the feds just continue to release these criminals back into the community,” he said.

“I would like to request the Trump administration to actually remove the criminals. If somebody is here illegally and they commit a crime, chances are they’re going to commit another one. So let’s get rid of them.”


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