Congressman Gerry Connolly Backs 287(g) Program
The following letter from Congressman Gerry Connolly should put to rest any fears that Rep. Connolly is soft on crime. He has fought hard for funding for this program and other law enforcement in Prince William, Fairfax and for the state of Virginia. See his letter to the editor printed in the Manassas News & Messenger in its entirety:
The Dec. 30 News & Messenger editorial opposing legislation in Congress to eliminate the federal 287(g) program that trains and deputizes local law enforcement officials to help identify and remove undocumented immigrants who commit crimes is right on the mark.
The current draft legislation would kill the 287(g) program in use in Prince William County and dozens of other jurisdictions across the nation. I will not support any termination of this vital program.
While there have been some excesses in the program, overall communities enrolled in 287(g) have had success in removing criminal aliens from our midst and targeting gangs, drugs and human smuggling. Given these facts, I believe 287(g) should be improved, not eliminated.
One deficiency in the 287(g) program—formally known as Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1990—is that it does not provide adequate funding to jurisdictions to pay the costs of incarceration for those arrested and jailed for crimes.
Earlier this year, I was successful on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in restoring $400 million in funding for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) after it was eliminated from President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget proposal. That provision includes $3.2 million in federal funds to reimburse Prince William and Fairfax Counties and the Commonwealth of Virginia for some of the costs of incarcerating criminal aliens in their jails.
Both Pete Meletis, superintendent of the regional jail that serves Prince William County, and Fairfax County Sheriff Stan Barry cited the importance of securing these funds. Meletis specifically noted that the federal reimbursement to jurisdictions provided through SCAAP is important to maintaining the 287(g) program in Prince William County.
The presence of criminal aliens in our communities and in our jails represents a failure of the federal government to live up to its responsibility.
Until the United States government can adequately and appropriately handle this serious problem, the 287(g)program is vital to the well being of Prince William County and other localities around the nation, and I will fight for its continuation.
GERALD E. CONNOLLY
Member of Congress
11th CD of Virginia
Political opponents and enemies of Connolly would have you believe otherwise. They would have you believe he was simply not interested in enforcing law and order issues. His letter to the editor should put all those rumors to bed. Is there anyone reading Anti-bvbl who feels that local participation in 287(g) is a bad thing? I always thought that it was common ground agreement for most people.
Apparently a replacement program for 287(g) has been discussed. I have heard rumors but the source was extremely questionable as to reliability. If you know something and there is documentation, please share with us.