Police Officer Suspended for Turning Illegal Alien Over to ICE Will Return to Full Duty

October 3, 2019 Updated: October 4, 2019

The Virginia police officer who was suspended for turning over an illegal immigrant to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is returning to full duty on Oct. 4.

The officer was at the site of the crash when a check on a driver revealed the person was an illegal alien wanted by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE). The officer called the agency contact listed on the warrant alert and ICE responded and took custody of the driver.

The alien, who was wanted for deportation, was released three hours later with an ankle monitor, according to Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler.

“As a matter of full transparency to our community—our police officer violated our longstanding policy and deprived a person of their freedom, which is unacceptable,” Roessler said in an Oct. 1 statement.

Fairfax County policy dictates that police officers should not take into custody a person who is not in custody or being taken into custody for any other violation of the law even if ICE has a warrant out for the person’s arrest.

Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler. (Fairfax County Police Department)

In an update, Roessler said the officer, who has not been named, would be returning to duty.

“After receiving an update from our Internal Affairs Bureau, I have concurred with the procedural policy recommendation to return the officer involved in the Sept. 21 event to full duty on Friday. We have one of the best police forces in the U.S. and I have confidence that our officer will represent us well throughout his career. Our internal administrative investigation continues as prescribed by policy,” he said.

Roessler said in the earlier statement, “We do not enforce nor detain for administrative warrants and we have no authority to enforce federal law.”

He said the driver did not have a driver’s license, which in Virginia is a class 2 misdemeanor that carries a maximum punishment of six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.

“Our county is one of the most diverse counties in the nation and no one should have the perception that FCPD is acting as a civil immigration agent for ICE. This matter damages our reputation and the longstanding policy that I have stated many times that our officers shall not act as immigration agents,” Roessler stated.

Roessler had said that the officer was “relieved of all law enforcement duties pending the outcome of this investigation.”

Roessler told reporters on Wednesday that the officer completed remedial training, according to the Associated Press.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting director Ken Cuccinelli, who often weighs in on sanctuary policies—state or local policies preventing law enforcement from cooperating with federal officers—suggested in a statement that officers in Fairfax County should still call ICE “despite their departments’ policies of harboring illegal aliens.”

“Resist the Resistance,” he said, referring to the activism within various government agencies and media against President Donald Trump and his administration.

He then shared the tip line number for ICE.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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