How closely should local jails work with federal immigration officials? That’s an issue that lawmakers are debating in Richmond.
When your local sheriff releases undocumented inmates from jail, should sheriff’s deputies call federal immigration officials? Republican Delegate Charles Poindexter of Franklin County has a bill that would require Virginia sheriffs to notify ICE.
Senator John Edwards, a Democrat from Roanoke, questioned Poindexter about the bill. “My experience and my understanding is that sheriffs do this," Edwards told Poindexter. "They do it, and ICE just doesn’t show up. They just don’t have the resources for whatever reason to come pick them up.”
"That happens in many cases," Poindexter responded. "It doesn’t happen in some cases too, senator. ICE has a risk-assessment process that they go through when they receive notification.”
Ashna Khanna at the American Civil Liberties Union says the bill is unnecessary because Virginia law already requires federal officials be notified when undocumented inmates are arrested, when they are taken into custody and again when they are convicted. “Virginia should be moving away from volunteering local resources to the federal government for immigration enforcement. At large, it makes our communities less safe.”
The bill has already passed the House and a Senate panel, which means it’s headed to Senate floor and potentially the governor’s desk.