Feds, Va. officials announce arrests of 15 criminal alien sex offenders Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/Feds_Va_officialsannouncearrestsof15criminalaliensexoffenders

By: David Sherfinski
Examiner Staff Writer
October 8, 2010

A joint effort between Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Virginia law enforcement officials resulted in the arrests of 15 foreign nationals in Virginia and D.C. who have been convicted of sex crimes — the latest salvo in a battle over immigration in the commonwealth that has been boiling for months.

 

The deportations were the result of Operation SOAR (Sexual Offender Alien Removal), an enforcement program in which state and federal officials identified 356 foreign nationals in local, state and federal prisons who have been convicted of sex offenses and are eligible to be deported. Other offenders will be deported after they complete their prison sentences.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli lauded the partnership that led to the arrests.

 

“While Virginia has its disagreements with the federal government on certain issues, Operation SOAR and programs related to it — such as Secure Communities — have emerged from a strong federal-state collaborative effort,” Cuccinelli said.

 

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton also weighed in on the Secure Communities program, where local jails check arrestees’ fingerprints with biometrics-based records held by the Department of Homeland Security and FBI criminal records. Virginia entered into Secure Communities in June.

 

Arlington County recently voted to opt out of the program, citing fears of racial profiling, but Morton said that the partnership is between the federal government and Virginia — not localities.

 

“Our anticipation is that we’re going to go forward with Secure Communities as we agreed with the state,” he said.
Arlington board member Walter Tejada applauded efforts to go after dangerous criminals, but said that clarification was needed on the program.

 

“It will be very important that we are given guidance, consistently and on the record, so we can have a clear and unambiguous process and understanding of how this works,” he said.

 

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Cuccinelli both waded into the hot-button immigration issue in recent months. McDonnell announced in August that he sent a request to DHS to enter into another partnership, known as 287(g), that would allow the Virginia State Police to enforce certain federal immigration laws.

 

Meanwhile, in response to a request from Del. Bob Marshall, R-Prince William, Cuccinelli ruled in an advisory opinion that state law enforcement officials can ask the immigration status of anyone stopped or arrested.

 

Examiner Staff Writer Ben Giles and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

dsherfinski@washingtonexaminer.com

 

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/Feds_-Va_-officials-announce-arrests-of-15-criminal-alien-sex-offenders-1155094-104606159.html#ixzz120sOv7Ci
Published on 10/10/2010 22:24:45