VA Sheriffs' Association Backs Congressional Initiative
On Tuesday, May, 13, 2008, the Virginia Sheriffs' Association Board of Directors endorsed requests made by the Alien Criminal Enforcement (ACE) task force to link the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) database to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database and to make it accessible to local law enforcement. Local authorities currently can access the NCIC database, but lack access to the ICE database, which contains vital information relating to inmates' immigration status. In late February, Reps. Eric Cantor, Thelma Drake and Rob Wittman, on behalf of the ACE task force, wrote a letter to ICE calling for the two databases to be merged. In response, ICE in early April introduced the Secure Communities Initiative, which would merge the databases. Congressman Cantor commented on the endorsement:
"We have a problem of identifying illegals in our jails. This endorsement will help us make the case in Washington that the Federal Government must provide the tools that local law enforcement needs to solve the problem. I look forward to working with the Sheriffs' Association to offer real solutions."
John W. Jones, Executive Director of the Virginia Sheriffs' Association expressed appreciation to the members of the ACE task force for their efforts designed to enhance Virginia Law enforcement community's ability to deal with the growing issue of the presence of illegal aliens.
"The Virginia Sheriffs' Association is grateful to the ACE task force for their efforts to streamline the efforts by sheriffs to identify the presence of illegal aliens in our local jails. This is a public safety initiative that was endorsed by the Virginia Sheriffs' Association. The sheriffs appreciate the ACE task force's support of public safety in this important regard."