Apparently Prince William County is keeping a watchful eye on the White House and its policy on immigration, since President Obama took office, according to the News and Messenger.  What is being specifically watched is whether the 287(g) program will continue to be supported under the department of homeland security.  Certain supervisors fear that the program will lose its federal funding and basically cease to exist.  And if 287(g) is no longer funded as part of ICE, that leaves PWC without its program. 


The article includes a brief explanation of how the county partners with the federal government:


The 287(g) program is how the county jail and police partner with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to apprehend and process those with criminal backgrounds. Since July 2007, ICE has issued 1,606 detainers for those arrested in the county and 1,506 have been processed, according to county statistics received last week.  

The two supervisors who are most tied to the federal program are Chairman Corey Stewart and Gainesville supervisor John Stirrup.    Stewart explained the possible ramifications: 


“This is what I think is going to happen,” said Corey Stewart, R-at large, chairman of the Board of County Supervisors, looking at the national scene. “I think the administration is going to shift its enforcement focus from illegal immigration to the employer.”

Moreover, he continued, depending on federal budget decisions, the 287(g) program could lose funding. And if that happens, its fate in Prince William is jeopardized.

“If they defund it, it stops our program dead in the water,” Stewart said, rating the chances for such to occur at 50 percent. “It’s just based on the budget and the [actions of] Democrat members of Congress.”

A GAO report and Congressional testimony call for tighter control over the 287(g) program.  According to the written testimony of March 14 of Richard Stana, director of Homeland Security and Justice, to the House Committee on Homeland Security:

Specifically … guidance on how and when to use program authority is inconsistent, guidance on how ICE officials are to supervise officers from participating agencies has not been developed, data that participating agencies are to track and report to ICE has not been defined and … taken together, the lack of internal controls makes it difficult for ICE to ensure that the program is operating as intended,”

Stana’s statements were linked to a January GAO report entitled, Immigration Enforcement: Controls over Program Authorizing State and Local Enforcement of Federal Immigration Laws Should Be Strengthened

John Stirrup also expressed his concerns to the News and Messenger:

“I’m hearing the administration is going to use these [GAO] studies as a basis for defunding or reducing the 287(g) program locally,” said Supervisor John Stirrup, R-Gainesville, who was the original author of the county’s immigration enforcement policy. “We could seek assistance from the state … but it could be problematic.”

Meanwhile, county elected officials will probably have to take the wait and see approach.  Many local government people have quietly suggested that the problem with these federal programs is the very thing these 2 supervisors seemed to fear.  PWC has put much time, money and reputation into these programs.  At any minute, the Feds could pull the plug.  Should that happen, everything goes up in smoke.  All the training and county resources dry up and there is not plan to deal with criminal illegal immigrants.  Manassas City, who also participates in 287 (g) at the jail, was not quoted. 

Perhaps this county ought to look at a new motto:  Only fund and pay for that over which you have total control.

 (Just a thought….)





139 Thoughts to “County Eyes Federal Immigration Policies”

  1. Moon-howler

    Good to know that Corey considers it more important to communicate with City folks than he does those who live in the County. Could it be that you are one of his supporters? Know that for every letter you have gotten when he agrees with you, there are those of us who have been ignored because we are not on the same sheet of music.

    I contrast Corey to Jackson Miller, who courteously responds to your mail whether he agrees with you or not.

  2. Elena

    You know what I remember about Frank Principi, a horrible woman getting up and speaking at citizen time in April. She accused Frank Principi of “aiding and abetting” illegal aliens because his inlaws were “illegals”. Do you know why she said that? Because his wife is from a country where they speak Spanish…EEEEKKK run for your lives! The reality is that during the election the only person running who stood her ground was Sharon Pandak. In the mob mentality, I can see why Frank may have pandered. Is it morally the most honest, not necessarily, but certainly he ran on more than just immigration enforcement. His participation on the Board was what changed our policy and I am not going to beat him over the head for his election “promises”. He did what the average citizen wanted him to do, bring some sanity to the Board where immigration was concerned. Many people who disagreed with the initial policy, stayed silent, even when hate was rearing its ugly head.

  3. Elena

    I just have to add, again, that what I said above just reinforces how brave I think Chief Deane was, standing before the board, telling them about unintended consequences of the resolution. He does deserve to be included in Kennedy’s “profiles in courage”.

  4. Moon-howler

    I agree Elena. There is still a small group out there on the dark screen who wants his head on a platter. I still haven’t figured out why. I guess because he is not Sheriff Joe, their semi literate hero.

  5. Moon-howler

    One of the chief complainers there is a former disgruntled employee.

  6. hello

    Hi Elena, you obviously think very highly of Chief Deane, so much so you think he should be included in Kennedy’s “profiles in courage”. Then what do you say to ShellyB’s claims of “time and time again, we would hear people say they had been pulled over for the first time in 15 years. Twice. In one day! And the reasons the police officers would give would be so flimsy. They’d just ask for an I.D. and let them go. But people felt as if they were being stopped because of how they looked. What if they didn’t have an I.D. on them?”

    Do you think that Chief Deane would allow this type of behaviour?

  7. Emma

    No, Moon-howler, I am not one of his “supporters,” just someone who writes or calls when issues concern me and my community. I don’t think that by writing to Corey Stewart that I am stealing away a response that should have gone to a County resident.

    And I have a ton of respect for Jackson Miller, especially after his telephone “town meeting” a couple months ago where he provided my husband a very good response to his concerns. THAT is accessibility and responsiveness that all of our local officials should take a page from.

  8. hello

    Moon, I believe I’ve said it a few times already so let me say it in a different way. You want to know what I want from Prinicpi? Easy, to do what he campaigned for, to ‘clean up’ Woodbridge. As I’ve said before, take a look at his site, there are pics from a very select few areas and those areas were cleaned and built way before he come into office. Why no before/after pics of MY area along rt.1? Ill tell you why, because it’s only gotten worse!

    Sure, you ‘use to work’ in this area but when you got off of work you went home where you didn’t have to deal with this. When I go home I’m at ground zero, there is no escape for me to an area where I don’t have multiple day labor sites and dead people showing up between them.

  9. Censored bybvbl

    Hello, have you talked to the owner or regional manager of 7-11 about your concern with the day laborers? If the property owner isn’t willing to enforce “no loitering” or “no trespassing” rules, what do you expect Frank Principi to do? Have you travelled down Rt. 236 through Annandale lately. Day laborers line up for almost a mile as well as congregate around the 7-11. What is better – a more or less centralized location where most of them can be found or spread out across Rt. 1?

    Something that is not discussed too much is the general decline of large tract developments as they age and whether that decline can reasonably be halted. If an area contains most of the affordable housing in a county, will it be a magnet for lower income people because of its affordability. With limited incomes people will have a tendency to double/triple up, do less maintenance (costly), etc. Perhaps the most that can be expected (until another real estate bubble) is that those neighborhoods get good police patrols and effective zoning enforcement.

    Hello, I’ve lived in “marginal” neighborhoods. I chose to quickly leave one and have stayed put for more than twenty years in another. Can you rent out your present home and rent elsewhere until the market improves some? Or are you willing to cut your losses and get out – suffer the financial consequences now but be free of the issues that may otherwise bother you for years? Perhaps most people in this country ,and particularly in PWC, who have bought homes in the last 5 years will lose money – a lot of people in the same boat.

  10. silver fox

    I don’t know how much better it is in the Gainesville District. Yesterday, Sudley was crawling with cops. The street was blocked off, police armed with rifles, and it gave you a very ill at ease feeling. I wonder if we will read about this in the local newspaper. The incident took place on the 9700 block of Copeland. There are many long time residents on that block. I was not comfortable leaving my older gradchildren at my home long enough to run to the store.

    Does anyone know anything about this incident??

  11. hello

    Censored, there is no way I can just cut my losses and suffer the financial consequences. The renting out idea is a good one though and I may look into that.

    Also, you asked “what is better – a more or less centralized location where most of them can be found or spread out across rt.1?”. Neither… do you have a third option?

  12. Moon-howler

    I had to do that, Hello. It has been many years ago but I rented out my house and rented someone else’s. It was a way to escape.

    There is nothing else I can say about Frank Principi that hasn’t been said. I am not so sure that you have much chance of getting Route 1 cleaned up, and I doubt if we are going to see route 28 coming in through Yorkshire and Manassas Park cleaned up either. Both have been ugly as homemade sin for the past 40 plus years. If Frank can fix route 1, he is a miracle worker. If that happens though, I want Wally and John to follow suit and do something about route 28. The minute you cross Bull Run, ugly starts.

  13. Moon-howler

    Silver, are you talking about the cops out on Strasburg who looked like the swat team? I saw them while I was cutting through over there. I guess everyone thinks their area is worse than the other guys. I don’t know.

    Emma, I don’t think you stole responses either. I just think that Corey is more communicative with those who agree with him than those who write to him in disagreement. I suppose that is human nature.

  14. Gainesville Resident

    I also rented out my house in the old neighborhood to escape it. Although I am not underwater in the mortgage in the old house having owned it for many years, it would have been hard to sell in a short timeframe for one thing, with many foreclosures in the neighborhood including two right across the street. Renting out is definitely a good option for the forseeable future, and I’m glad I did it – even though my first thought was I didn’t really want to own a rental property.

  15. silver fox

    I most certainly am NOT saying my neighborhood is worse. I will say that it is not as “bad” as the Woodbridge/Route One Corridor. It’s always been nasty down at that end of the county. I haven’t been to Woodbridge in over twenty years, and if it’s gotten worse, which I believe it has, I have no intention of ever going to that place.

  16. Elena

    When the resolution first took effect, in October, police officers may have felt compelled to check everyone, based on outward attributes and language barriers. Even they are human and may have specific attitudes towards the new immigrant population. Having said that, I believe Chief Deane’s intent has been clear as he stated in the video I provided. @hello

  17. Censored bybvbl

    Moon-howler, you aren’t kidding about Rt. 28 looking like a dump. It’s a visual “Welcome to PWC” and its trashy reputation. The change between Fairfax County and Prince William County is jolting.

    As for Rt. 1, it,too, has been dumpy looking for as long as I’ve lived in this county (since 1978). Even wealthier Fairfax has been able to rehab only parts of Rt. 1 – although they’ve definitely done a better job than we have. Stafford has done a better job than we have.

    As for renting out properties and renting or buying another place – sometimes you just have to do it. You need to analyze the neighborhood trends and decide how important your happiness/safety is to you. If you’re not going to be able to leave, you need to decide to get involved in your neighborhood in some positive way.

  18. Moon-howler

    Part of the problem at that end of the county is that route 1 goes through the center. I suppose people said the same thing about route 66 but no song was ever written about it. There are older neighborhoods and some rather raunchy apartments along route 1. There are also some beautiful new apts up high on the hill where the new road cuts through.

  19. Moon-howler

    I agree with all you have said, Censored. And route 28 really is an embarrassment. Both the county and the City of MP need to do some sprucing up. I would start with some new zoning laws. Some places need to be told to fix it up or tear it down. Not sure that is possible but I would sure try.

    The renting option does give one a chance to see what its like being a slum lord. And it does give you insight into much of what we grouse about. My husband used to get all pissy over this and that….I told him the moral issue was ‘do they pay the rent on time.’ He used to just tell them he would be buy on the 5th to collect to save them a stamp. That gave him a chance to make sure everything was on the up and up. Gives you a chance to be there. You can get by with that kind of crap if you manage your own property. We paid a rental fee for a company to rent it out but since we were local, we were our own property managers.

  20. Gainesville Resident

    It has seemed to me for many years the transition from Fairfax to PWC on Rt. 28 has been bad. I don’t know what really can be done there – a lot of buildings would have to be torn down and that doesn’t seem to be likely.

    Rt. 1 is like that all over – up in New Jersey it goes through nice parts (Princeton) and really ugly parts (further north).

  21. Censored bybvbl

    If the economy were better, some of the property owners on Rt. 28 might be inclined to sell. But as long as zoning allows a hodge-podge of buildings or uses,not much may change. Sooner or later widening that road may need to be addressed and then some of those buildings will be torn down. Rt. 28 has been upgraded from Chantilly through Sterling. Manassas City is the sticking point. There will always be the problem of getting traffic through there. Even if our Rt. 28 slumminess is solved by widening that road, at some point it will have to detour around the City or bottleneck there.

  22. Moon-howler

    Gainesville, you are right in your description of Route 1. I don’t think it gets good until Maine, and even then it is sort of a quaint, picturesque type of good. There’s just something about lobster shacks and LL Bean…

  23. Gainesville Resident

    I’ve never been to the Maine part of Rt. 1, but through New Jersey and into Pennsylvania most of it is pretty ugly and I wouldn’t be too thrilled about living adjacent to it. It is a very old highway obviously, so unless areas have been redeveloped or were originally out in the boonies where it ran through – most of the development around it is pretty old. Not to mention that through New Jersey and Pennsylvania – travelling on it is a traffic nightmare. The congestion around Princeton during commuter hours (which is actually the nice area of it) makes commuting here look like a picnic in comparison. I did that piece of it during the late 70’s/early 80’s and even then it was a traffic disaster (pretty comparable to I-66 these days during commuter hours) – it is 10 times worse these days even though it has been widened through that area.

  24. Moon-howler

    I am unfamiliar with it now in the places you mention. I have avoided it and when I went on it in Maine, I deliberately did it for the scenic coastal qualities.

  25. Moon-howler

    I don’t know any way to improve 28 at all. I don’t know how you get rid of that many years of ugly other than bribbery. I don’t think the county can afford to bribe now.

  26. silver fox

    I wish the owners/renters of those establishments along 28 should take more pride in their properties. Who’s going to want to do busines with a place that looks like it would cave in on you at any minute. The aren’t doing themselves or their potential patrons any favors by maintaining the properties as the majority are on 28.

    I took a tour of the area today. I did notice the business that purchased the old Yorkshire VFD has really enhanced the building. Too bad some other businesseswouldn’t follow their example. The Fairfax portion of 28 just before Bull Run is nothing for Fairfax to brag about. There was trash all over the road and in the yards of the houses.


  27. silver fox

    Pardon the typos. I’ve got kids and kittens clawing at me.
    Sentences should read as follows…

    First sentence of first paragraph.
    wish the owners/renters of those establishments along 28 would take more pride in their properties.

    Last sentence of first paragraph.
    They aren’t doing themselves or their potential patrons any favors by maintaining the properties as the majority are on 28.

  28. Emma

    The 28 corridor is the ugliest imaginable entrance to Manassas. That kind of ugliness and neglect does not say, “Stop by and eat” to me when I pass by the restaurants there. It says “Cockroaches live here.” And people were afraid of the image of a Piggly Wiggly (over by All Saints Church) being bad as an entry point into Old Town a couple years ago.

  29. Censored bybvbl

    Silver fox, I’ll give PWC credit for having fewer political signs plastered all over the right-of-way on Rt. 28. Before elections Fairfax County really is trashed up with the political crapola. Amazing how our pols think their trash isn’t trashy but real estate ads, yard sale ads, and Joe-the-plumber type ads are. They’ve given themselves free reign to crap up the enrivonment – all under the guise of free speech – though nothing more than their names are offered up in print large enough to read. Their party affiliation is usually well hidden. Haha- one of my favorite pet peeves – political signs on road rights-of-way.

  30. GainesvilleResident

    I agree about the political signs. For the recent Fairfax County special election – along Fairfax County Parkway from I-66 to the Dulles Toll Road one candidate decided it would be great if their signs zig zagged back and forth all the way along the center median strip in many places. It looked terrible, and you don’t need 10 signs spaced a foot apart from each other to get your message across.

  31. Moon-howler

    How about the Lake Ridge Safeway? Oh Rats!

  32. Gainesville Resident

    I wonder how many people are going to keep shopping at the Lake Ridge Safeway now. If I lived near it and shopped there, I wouldn’t anymore.

  33. Emma

    Some people in Thailand cook rat and consider it a great delicacy. Good eatin’s.

  34. Lucky Duck

    I drive by that store on a frequent basis and its as busy as ever.

  35. Moon-howler

    I expect rats live around all grocery stores. Safeway just got caught. They shouldn’t have let their shoppers SEE the rats. That’s the problem. If I were a rat, I would want to hang out around grocery stores and restaurants. Why make life harder on myself. Home rats have to fight garbage cans with lids, family pets, cats, and all sorts of other obstacles. Grocery store rats have it made.

    I feel like Gainesville Res does though. I would no longer shop there after reading the paper. I would just rather not know. I haven’t been to Food Lion since reading about the bleached meat, back in the 90’s.

    Emma, ewwwwwwwww!

  36. TWINAD

    Ugh, thanks for the rat images. I hadn’t heard about that one. Maybe I’ll keep going out to Gainesville every week to Wegman’s. I’ve only been going once every two weeks and filling in at the WestGate Giant…home of the gross sewer smell last summer! THAT was disgusting…for weeks every time I approached that store the smell about knocked me over. I finally asked what they were doing about it…not enough by the way…and had to stop going there.

  37. Moon-howler

    The Safeway down at the rich end of Sudley Manor Drive is a very nice store, Twinad. I think it is more expensive than Giant, but who cares if they actually carry the products you want to buy.

  38. Gainesville Resident

    Yes, the Safeway at the intersection of Sudley Manor Drive and Linton Hall Road is very nice. The Super Giant in the Virginia Gateway Center on Linton Road at the intersection of Rt. 29 is even nicer in my opinion and the prices are better. It is a bit further out for folks in Manassas, but if you are going to Wegmans than it is on the way there. Wegmans is very nice, but it has been crazy crowded ever since it has opened, unless maybe during the daytime when most people are at work, I suppose.

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