PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. - Many cities and counties in the D.C. area have declared themselves "sanctuary cities" to oppose the President Donald Trump's moves on immigration. But the top county official in Prince William County said his administration needs to go even further and turn over crucial information they have been seeking for years.
Prince William Board of County Supervisors chairman Corey Stewart is calling on the Trump's administration to reveal information about how many people arrested for crimes in the county are still in the country illegally.
Stewart told FOX 5 police have referred more than 7,000 people to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). But so far, he said ICE will not say if those criminal suspects have been deported or have been released and remain in the U.S.
"It is important for our police department and it is important for our jail,” said Stewart. “If our police see an individual who was deported and is now back in the country, it is a felony and that person should be arrested. That is why it is important for our police department.”
Stewart, who is also running as a Republican candidate for Virginia governor, said his request is the same one he has been making during both administrations for President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush. He wants ICE to let jurisdictions know if they took any action on individuals who were referred to them.
But critics have said even if the county had this information, it is not clear what it would do with it. Democratic supervisor Frank Principi of the Woodbridge District is calling Stewart's immigration demands "political theatrics."
"Clearly what is motivating him is his run for governor – not what is good for Prince William County,” said Principi. “If he really wanted to do what is good for Prince William County, he would support a tax increase that would get us the adequate number of police officers and sheriffs to fight crime.”
Stewart’s office said ICE has agreed to send a representative when the board holds a hearing on this topic.
A spokesperson for ICE responded to FOX 5's request for information saying they "are looking into the situation."