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An Introduction

Illegal Immigration Enforcement

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors passed a resolution on July 10, 2007, regarding illegal immigration enforcement. This original resolution directed the Police Department to do two things:

  1. Develop a new policy which instructs police officers to inquire into the citizenship or immigration status of persons who are lawfully detained for a violation of state or local law IF the inquiry will not unreasonably extend the detention. If a violation exists, officers are required to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to the fullest extent of the law.

  2. Acquire federal immigration enforcement authority which is obtained by signing a Memorandum of Agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As a result, the Police Department has created a specialized group called the Criminal Alien Unit. Members of this unit will receive 287(g) training that gives them the authority to enforce federal immigration laws. This unit will focus on illegal aliens who commit serious offenses including human trafficking fake ID production operations and gang involvement.

On April 29, 2008, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors passed a directive which changed the mandated stage at which police officers are required to make citizenship status inquiries. At that point, the Department policy requirements regarding mandated pre-arrest immigration inquiries (based on probable cause) were suspended. To fulfill the new directives the Police Department revised and announced an updated illegal immigration enforcement policy which is now in effect. Several important aspects of the new policy include:

  • Police officers will now inquire into the immigration status of all persons who are under physical custodial arrest for a violation of state or local law.

  • Police officers retain discretion to inquire into immigration status prior to physical custodial arrest.

  • Police officers will continue to protect crime victims and witnesses -- regardless of their immigration status.

On December 31, 2012, the Prince William County Police Department's 287(g) program agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ceased. The Police Department's internal policy in response to the Board of County Supervisors resolution remains in place and did not change with exception of the removal of any language regarding our 287(g) authority which also ceased along with the agreement. The Police Department will continue to communicate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with regard to any individuals under custodial arrest by members of the Police Department who are found to be or believed to be in the United States illegally in accordance with our internal policy and the Board of County Supervisor Resolution.

As a Department we are committed to enforcing the new policy and our role in immigration enforcement in a fair, lawful, and reasonable manner.

For more information, or if you have questions about this policy, send an e-mail to: or call 703-792-5123.


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