Funds Help Counties Jail Illegal Aliens; New Law to Aid in Crackdown on Gangs, Terrorists

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Byline: Christina Bellantoni, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Fairfax and Arlington counties will receive more than $800,000 in federal grant money to offset the cost of jailing illegal aliens, a power the localities will gain under a new state law that takes effect July 1.

Officials in both counties said they will enforce the law aimed at cracking down on illegal immigrants in the fight against gangs and terrorists.

Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican, said yesterday the 28 jurisdictions in Virginia that will be enforcing the law will each get a portion of the $2.8 million federal grant to help defray the costs associated with detaining the illegal aliens.

Arlington will receive $223,125, and Fairfax County will receive $618,920. Loudoun County will receive $72,846, and Prince William County will receive $296,786.

A spokesman for Mr. Allen said the money is intended to help jurisdictions with already tight budgets deal with the federal issue of illegal aliens. The federal grant is part of the U.S. Department of Justice's State Criminal Assistance Program.

"Senator Allen feels that committing a violent crime is outrageous and has made it very clear he wants to get violent criminals off the street," spokesman John Reid said. "The fact that they are illegal aliens means we shouldn't have to deal with their crime in the first place."

Mr. Reid said the senator hopes jurisdictions will now feel they have the resources - with the new law and the federal grant money - to respond to the state's problem with illegal aliens.

Currently, police investigating a crime are not authorized to forcibly hold an illegal alien pending the arrival of a federal Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent. The new law will permit local police to arrest any illegal immigrant who previously had been convicted of a felony and deported. …