Fauquier County sheriff looks to partner with federal immigration officials

- As some areas look to push “sanctuary city” laws to protect illegal immigrants from federal enforcement, one Northern Virginia community is going in a totally different direction. A sheriff in Fauquier County, Virginia says rather than ignore federal immigration laws, he wants to team up with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Fauquier County Sheriff Bob Mosier tells FOX 5 he has applied for his sheriff's department to partner with ICE, which would allow his officers to receive ICE training and be supervised by ICE officials.

This will not change any current policies. Deputies will not be conducting immigration raids, but Sheriff Mosier does want them trained on correct policies and procedures. Local law enforcement gets no say in crafting federal immigration law, but is often left caught in the middle of dealing with the problem not enforcing the law creates.

Sheriff Mosier gave his thoughts on the current situation saying, "You're asking me if we're caught in the middle? Absolutely! That's why you're here with me. It's because of the failed policies of our federal government, our U.S. Congress. They need to get this taken care of because there are going to more of this across the county and it's unfortunate that it has to go this way, but we're working on it together.”

Right now, the sheriff's officer checks a person's immigration status only if they are charged with a serious crime that lands them in the county jail. The training program would not change that. However, it would add additional training for officials on how to proceed when there is a detainer placed on a person.

Last week, ICE issued a list of counties that do not cooperate with ICE detainers. Montgomery County and Prince George’s County in Maryland were on that list. Fauquier County was not.

Immigration enforcement issues have gained new urgency in the wake of the rape of a 14- year-old student in a school bathroom at Rockville High School in Maryland. The two suspects charged with the crime, an 18-year-old and a 17-year-old, are in the U.S. illegally.

The move in Fauquier County is similar to efforts by law enforcement in Anne Arundel County and Harford County in Maryland who are also entering into similar partnerships with ICE. While the Democratic-controlled Maryland Senate is currently considering a “sanctuary state” bill, in Virginia where Republicans control the General Assembly, but not the governor's mansion, there appears to be no political path forward for the supporters of sanctuary status in the Commonwealth.

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