News & Politics

Fairfax Police Deny FOIA Request After Officer Suspended for Turning Illegal Over to ICE

Fairfax Police Deny FOIA Request After Officer Suspended for Turning Illegal Over to ICE
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer looks on during an operation in Escondido, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

In a potential cover-up, the Fairfax, Virginia, police department denied a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents related to the suspension of a police officer who turned an illegal immigrant over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The illegal immigrant had an ICE detainer warrant out for his arrest, but Fairfax County has maintained an anti-ICE pro-illegal alien “sanctuary” policy.

Townhall filed a FOIA request for documents regarding the suspension, but the Fairfax Police Department rejected the request, withholding the records due to an “administrative investigation.” The letter clarified that “the records responsive to your request … is being withheld in its entirety because Fairfax County is exercising its discretion to withhold the record in accordance with VFOIA,” the Virginia FOIA statute.

Townhall’s Matt Vespa reported the “allegation that the wife of this illegal alien contacted the police chief, which set this chain of events into motion.” An anonymous tipster approached PJ Media claiming personal knowledge that the police officer’s gun and badge were confiscated after the incident, which would involve a very harsh and unusual reprimand for someone following federal law, but we have not yet been able to verify that claim.

Whatever the truth of these rumors, The Washington Post reported that the officer in question has received remedial training *cough* re-education *cough* and will return to active duty on Friday.

The incident took place on September 21. The officer discovered one of the drivers didn’t have a Virginia driver’s license and ran a check with the state Department of Motor Vehicles. The check revealed that the driver had a violation for failing to appear for a deportation hearing: he wasn’t just an illegal alien — he was actively avoiding the law. The officer verified the warrant, contacted ICE, and ICE arrived on the scene. The officer cited the driver for driving without a license and handed the illegal immigrant over to ICE.

The police chief attributed the officer’s actions to confusion. His “lapse in judgment” has been “punished.”

“This is an unfortunate issue where the officer was confused,” Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. said in a statement. “We have trained on this issue a lot. This is the first time we’ve had a lapse in judgment, and the officer is being punished.”

As a former resident of Fairfax County, I am personally ashamed of this situation. What is the good of having immigration law if we’re not going to enforce it? I know legal immigrants living here in Virginia who went through the long, arduous process of coming here legally and getting their American citizenship. I grew up with Mexican immigrants who did the same thing, and I’m proud to call them my fellow Americans. When illegal aliens and their enablers flaunt the law in this way, they’re insulting these people.

Yes, America needs to loosen up its immigration laws. But we also need to enforce them, in order to uphold justice for the people who do things right. Sanctuary policies like this are an insult to the very people we need to help and a boon to those who have no respect for American law.

Yet not only is Fairfax County enacting such a policy, it’s also withholding records that will help the press get to the bottom of what happened here. This secrecy only breathes new life into rumors that the Fairfax Police Department did something even more untoward than just temporarily suspending this officer. What are they hiding?

Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.