For Immediate Release
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Prince William & Manassas Rejects Renewing ICE Agreement
Manassas, Va. — Today, the jail board overseeing the Prince William-Manassas Adult Detention Center voted to end the 287(g) agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). At a time when the Trump administration has been creating new 287(g) agreements with localities, ending the agreement has been a push back from two of Virginia’s localities.
“With the national conversation rightfully focused on the brutalities of law enforcement against Black and Brown people, the ending of 287g in Prince William County is nothing short of historic,” said Luis Oyola, local committee chair of VACIR with Legal Aid Justice Center. “This contract enabled far too many abuses by ICE and the Jail against immigrants in the County. This is the people’s win and we look forward to ending all abuses against the marginalized people of Prince William County.”
Prince William County is a majority-minority community. 1 in 4 immigrants reside in Prince William County. From 2011 to July 2019, over 6,503 inmates have been transferred to ICE. Since 2018, over 579 people have been deported under the agreement.
“Negatives of the 287g agreement is far from keeping us safe,” said Lenka M, with Dreamers Mother’s In Action. “It has made the Latino community the most vulnerable. Our people are afraid to call the police if they are victims of some crime. It has made our city more insecure and has made people a target of discrimination. 12 years ago when that racist 287(g) deal was installed, many of my neighbors and friends abandoned the county out of fear. My family and I decided to stay because hatred couldn’t beat us. We wanted to fight for a better place to live. For my family and as a member of the PWC community, today is a historic day of change. Today is the day we say hate and discrimination, you are not welcome in my city.”
Many households are dependent on the income of a parent who may be deported. The median income for immigrant households on average drops from $36,000 to $15,400 when a family member is deported. This is well below the poverty line. Additionally, if a single parent is deported, children may be sent to foster care which puts more financial cost on the localities.
“We stand in absolute support with the new leadership at the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and the Prince William-Manassas Regional Jail Board that has taken a clear stance against the 287(g) program. As an organization in Prince William County and Manassas, CASA has organized, advocated, and transformed the area these past years. This is a step forward for the county to end mass deportations, the criminalization of immigrants, and ripping families apart. We have new leadership in Prince William County that is more representative of all its residents and as such more in tune to the community needs and this is absolutely a victory for our community and progress for the county.” said Luis Aguilar, CASA Virginia Director.
The 287(g) agreement in Prince William County-Manassas Adult Detention Center is one of two in Virginia. The majority of the expenses to run the program are paid for by the taxpayers of Prince William County and Manassas. It costs both localities over $300,000 per year. A study by the Brookings Institute found that Prince William County had to raise property taxes and divert funds from reserves to start its 287(g) program in 2009. Because of the shifting dynamics of elected and appointed officials of the jail board, this policy reversal was possible.
“Ending the agreement is just the beginning of a movement to make our communities more inclusive, said Evelin Urrtia, VACIR 287(g) working group chair with Tenants and Workers United. “We have fought hard to make sure immigrant families stay together. This is time for us to create equitable solutions and to build trust within the immigrant community.”