What may have started as a well-intentioned plan to save the state of Virginia money and let low-level lawbreakers off the hook has turned into a nightmare for Prince William County’s immigrant community.
Since 2010, prosecutors across Virginia have automatically waived jail time for minor misdemeanors, allowing judges, in turn, to waive defendants’ right to a legal counsel. Under this new system, those accused of minor offenses, like marijuana possession, can simply plead guilty, pay small fines or comply with light penalties, and return to their lives as usual.
287(g) is a discriminatory immigration enforcement program that has been proven to result in racial profiling. But instead of ending the program, DHS is planning to expand the program next year to 11 new jurisdictions.