Prior to the adoption of the Rule Of Law Resolution, Prince William County Police operated under the provisions of General Order 26-05 entitled "Jurisdiction and Arrest Procedures: Undocumented Immigrants" that prevented police officers from questioning suspects about their immigration status unless they had committed a felony violation. This effective "sanctuary policy" shielded illegal aliens from the consequences of their behavior in many instances and established the perception among the then-growing illegal alien population that law enforcement agencies in the county were entirely uninterested in enforcing the law. During that time, the number of illegal aliens turned over to the U.S. Bureau of Immigration And Customs Enforcement numbered less than fifty annually.
Help Save Manassas criticized this policy and the secrecy that shrouded it, and then worked to develop an alternative that would ensure that local law enforcement agencies and county government worked in concert with the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement rather than undermining their mission. That initiative became known as the "Rule Of Law Resolution."
The Rule of Law Resolution proposed by Supervisor John Stirrup (R-Gainesville) was unanimously adopted by the Prince William Board of County Supervisors on July 10th, 2007 and came into full enforcement on March 3rd, 2008. The resolution empowers local police officers to inquire about the legal status of suspected illegal aliens when they are suspected of violating a local law or ordinance, expands the county's participation in the Section 287(g) Program, and restricts some taxpayer-funded public benefits from being provided to illegal aliens.
On April 29th, 2008 the Prince William County Board of Supervisors modified the enforcement provisions of the policy to remove the probable cause standard which had previously governed which suspected illegal aliens would be subjected to a check of their immigration status. The modified policy subjects all persons arrested to a check of their status, and leaves to the discretion of the officer whether to perform checks on suspects who are not arrested. This new resolution is available here.
For more information regarding the Rule of Law Resolution, please visit the Illegal Immigration webpage of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.
The DC Examiner reported in June, 2008 that crime decreased 22% in Prince William County (the largest crime reduction in seven years) while Fairfax County saw an increase of 6%. Murders were down in 2007 by 44% despite illegal aliens being responsible for five of the nine murders in 2007. In 2008 violent crime decreased over 36% according to the Prince William County Police Department and murders by illegal aliens dropped to zero. The reductions in violent crime in Prince William County are more than double that of surrounding jurisdictions.
As of April 2009, The Prince William County Adult Detention Center had issued 1,606 immigration detainers under the Section 287(g) Program, and turned 1,506 criminal illegal aliens over to the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation since July of 2007. These illegal aliens were arrested for crimes including attempted murder, cocaine posession, grand larceny, felony hit-and-run, shoplifting, assault, DUI, identify fraud and sexual abuse.
In addition to the identification of illegal aliens and crackdown on illegal alien criminal behavior, other significant public benefits have been observed. These include the following:
The Rule of Law Resolution is yielding significant positive benefits for county taxpayers, the quality of life in our communities, and the safety and security of our families.