(CNSNews.com) - A Fairfax County, Va., police officer has been suspended for helping ICE take an illegal immigrant into custody for failure to appear for a deportation hearing in violation of the city’s sanctuary law.
According to Fairfax County Police, the officer responded to a traffic accident on Sept. 21 in Alexandria, Va., and found that one driver did not have a driver’s license. While trying to check the driver’s information in the DMV record, the officer was notified by ICE that the driver was wanted by ICE for an administrative violation warrant on file for the failure to appear for a deportation hearing.
The officer confirmed the warrant through the county’s Public Safety Communication’s Teletype section, then contacted the ICE agent that was the point of contact for the warrant. The ICE agent informed the officer that they were close by and were heading to the scene.
The officer issued a uniform summons to the driver for not having a license and had the driver sign it. Then the officer detained the driver through a custodial detention and turned the driver over to the ICE agent’s custody.
Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler issued a statement about the incident, explaining that the officer’s actions violated county police arrest procedures, which says officers are not allowed to enforce or detain for administrative warrants.
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 role as the leader of this police force to enforce our FCPD – and Fairfax County – policies and hold all accountable for their actions.