VA Police Officer Suspended After Turning Illegal Alien Over To ICE: Police Chief Says Officer Had 'Lapse in Judgement'

 

Following a September 21st traffic accident in Alexandria, VA, a police officer discovered one of the drivers did not have a state driver’s license. He ran a check with the Virginia DMV which showed this individual had “failed to appear for a deportation hearing. The officer verified the warrant and alerted officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). An ICE agent was close by and arrived at the scene. The officer cited the driver for not having a driver’s license and turned him over to the federal agent.”

It turns out that in 2007, Fairfax County had enacted a policy which “prohibits officers from confirming a person’s immigration status and detaining them solely based on civil violations of immigration law.”

After spending three hours in police custody, the driver was released and issued an ankle monitor.

Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. said, “This is an unfortunate issue where the officer was confused. We have trained on this issue a lot. This is the first time we’ve had a lapse in judgment, and the officer is being punished.”

Roessler added, “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 posted a statement about this incident on the Fairfax County Police Department website. He describes the situation and displayed the county’s policy.

Since 2007, the FCPD General Order 601-Arrest procedures (VIII c. 5. e.) is very clear on this matter:

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.

In addition, training at our Academy, as clearly outlined in lesson plans, as well as in-service training reinforces to our personnel that we do not enforce nor detain for administrative warrants and we have no authority to enforce federal law. We have also been working closely with community members and advocates to review our General Orders in this regard.

As a matter of full transparency to our community – our police officer violated our longstanding policy and deprived a person of their freedom, which is unacceptable. We have been informed by ICE that the driver was released after three hours and issued an ankle monitor. When I learned of this event, I directed an immediate internal investigation to look at all factors in this matter to ensure that all are held accountable for this violation. 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. 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 officer involved in this event has been relieved of all law enforcement duties pending the outcome of this investigation. It is my duty to enforce our FCPD – and Fairfax County – policies and hold all accountable for their actions.

Forget purple. Virginia has already turned blue.