Fair Process for All Virginians

A toolkit to establish best practices for sheriffs


Created for people of faith and goodwill by Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

1716 E. Franklin Street

Richmond, VA  23223




The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy seeks to make Virginia a commonwealth that is welcome to all, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or where you were born. Unfortunately, Virginia continues to struggle with its legacy of slavery, genocide, and displacement rooted in racism and xenophobia. Too many people from Muslim and Jewish communities and people of other minority faith traditions are viewed with suspicion, and communities of immigrants are under attack. Virginia could and should do better.

This toolkit is designed to help address one specific problem – how poorly, unfairly and often illegally sheriffs around Virginia are treating people who are immigrants.

Local activists and people of faith around the nation have helped local sheriffs develop and implement best practice policies that treat all people, including those who are immigrants, fairly. In Virginia, efforts are underway to establish best practice policies for sheriffs in at least a dozen different communities – Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield, Fairfax, Hanover, Loudoun, among others.

This toolkit will help you educate people, get the information you need to assess how your sheriff treats people who are immigrants, and plan what you can do to establish best practice policies. Here’s what’s in it:

  • Background on the Campaign for Fair Practice Policies
  • What Faith Groups Say About Welcoming Immigrants
  • Making a Strategy
  • Researching your Community
  • Meeting with Your Sheriff
  • Submitting a FOIA Request
  • Connecting with the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy
  • Glossary
  • Model Policy

Even though the glossary is near the end, you may need to review it first to understand all the terms – there are lots of them!

Please call or email one of us if you would like more help or guidance in developing your campaign:

Yanet Limon-Amado, Immigrant Justice Organizer


(804) 643-2474  ext. 102



We have a problem in Virginia. Many localities are treating people unfairly based on where they were born. Some sheriffs are holding people in local jails past their release dates because of unconstitutional ICE detainers.[1] “Detainers” are requests filed by immigration and customs enforcement asking local sheriffs to hold certain people past their release dates giving them time to take custody. ICE detainers are NOT judicial warrants, meaning they are not signed by a judge and do not meet the burden of proof to pass constitutional muster. In Virginia, Henrico County paid out a settlement in 2017 to a man held on an ICE detainer past his release date.[2]

The estimated cost to Virginia taxpayers of holding people beyond their release dates is $105 per day. Plus, taxpayers foot the bill when localities are sued for this unconstitutional practice and must pay out settlements. This is not a good use of taxpayer resources.

Immigrant families are hurt when their family members are picked up, often for minor traffic violations, held beyond their release dates, and then picked up by ICE and placed in federal detention centers. Once detained in a federal facility, it is especially difficult to communicate with loved ones, and people are often deported without any legal representation or a chance to defend themselves in court. Whisking family members away without notice or even the chance to say good bye, arrange care for their dependents, or seek legal counsel is terribly harmful for families, many of which include US citizens. The trauma being experienced by families that include immigrants will not be undone by a new administration or better policies. We must do all that we can to ensure due process before loved ones are swept up.

Fair process policies will make Virginia safer for everyone. This is not a campaign to ask for special rights or protections for immigrants; it is the simple demand that people who are immigrants be treated fairly. Localities that take proactive steps to ensure that due process is afforded to all people have a better relationship with communities of immigrants because these communities do not feel that they are being unfairly targeted or profiled. Communities need to trust local law enforcement agencies if they are going to report crimes, assist in investigations, and address community problems. If local sheriffs are viewed as arms of ICE or people who violate immigrants’ rights to due process, they will not be trusted. This hurts everyone.

History of ICE

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has only existed as an agency since 2003. Prior to that, enforcement was a function of the now-defunct agency Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS). Partly reacting to the events of 9/11 and partly reflective of the IIRIRA passed in 1996, INS became ICE, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). While USCIS – the only service-provider of the three agencies – remains underfunded and woefully inefficient, the resources allocated to enforcement agencies – ICE and CBP – continue to increase exponentially. Once a service agency, INS transformed into enforcement. In 1994 (prior to the IIRIRA) the average population of immigrations that were detained was 6,785 per day.[3] By 2007, that number had increased to more than 311,000. Local law enforcement collaboration with ICE is largely responsible for this increase. ICE serves one purpose: tracking, detaining and deporting community members for administrative violations.

Why is ICE in our local jails?

ICE does not have the resources to research, seek a warrant, and hunt down every person they may be able to deport. So, ICE created forms i-247D and i-247N – called detainers – that its agents submit to local jails, which in turn takes the burden off of ICE to identify individuals and take them into custody. These forms ask the local jails to notify ICE prior to the release of an identified individual (I-247N) or to detain an individual for 48 hours past their release date, giving ICE more time to take custody (I-247D). Often, ICE sends an I-200 or I-205 (administrative warrant) with the detainer to make it appear mandatory; however, administrative warrants carry no constitutional authority. Different localities in Virginia have different policies around ICE warrants and detainers, but using ICE detainers means that people who are immigrants do not have their rights protected. Virginia localities should adopt the Fair Process Policy that would guarantee all people are treated fairly.

Essentially, ICE is asking local Virginia sheriffs and their staff to operate as ICE enforcement staff and violate immigrants’ rights to due process.  When charged with a crime, people have the right to defense and usually are released on their own reconnaissance or allowed out with bail. After serving their sentences, people are then released. This is only fair and just. This right to due process is what the American legal system claims to be about. Except, for people who are immigrants, it is not always the case.

Due process for all is not routinely respected in Virginia. Some localities recognize the need for all people, including immigrants, to have due process. Others do not. If local communities do not develop policies limiting the use of ICE detainers and guaranteeing access to legal counsel prior to interviews, they will be tromping on immigrants’ constitutional rights to due process. Localities that accept and use ICE detainers inevitably do not respect immigrants’ human rights. Local communities do NOT have to accept and use ICE detainers. Communities have choices in developing policies that clearly delineate their separation from ICE, a federal agency. The best way to assure that immigrants are treated fairly is for Virginia localities to adopt a Fair Process Policy that would guarantee all people are treated fairly, upholding human rights.


Must sheriffs allow ICE into the jails?

 Sheriffs are not legally required to allow ICE into Virginia jails unless ICE has a judicial warrant. A judicial warrant requires reasonable evidence of a crime, identifies a particular person, and is signed by a judge, none of which are true of administrative warrants. However, many sheriffs in Virginia allow ICE to interview whomever they wish. Based on these interviews, ICE lodges detainers against people they believe they can deport. Part of the Fair Process Policy mandates that people who will be interviewed by ICE are reminded of their rights (including the right to refuse an interview) and that their legal counsel will be notified. Sheriffs do NOT have to allow ICE into their jails to interview people except when ICE has a judicial warrant.


287g Agreements in Virginia

 A 287g agreement is a formal written agreement between ICE and a local enforcement agency that deputizes certain officers with the authority of ICE agents. Two Virginia localities have 287g jail agreements. Prince William County and Culpeper County have deputized certain officials in their county jails to enforce federal immigration laws. These agreements are particularly damaging because they mean that anyone detained in the local jail is automatically in ICE custody. Individuals who have not been charged or convicted of any crime become targets for deportation – even if they have open immigration cases they are fighting in the courts. Plus, localities that opt in to these agreements pay for them with taxpayer dollars. Prince William County paid $6.4 million for the first year of its 287g, which required levying a new property tax and dipping into the county’s rainy day fund. In Prince William and Culpeper counties the most important thing people of faith and good will can do to defend immigrant communities is to fight to end the 287g agreements.


How do ICE detainers harm communities?

 Everyone detained in a Virginia jail is questioned about their citizenship and has their fingerprints sent to DHS to verify that the person is authorized to live in the United States. This process happens before any conviction and often before charges have even been filed. People who respond that they are not U.S. citizens have admitted “alienage”, which starts the ball rolling toward ICE involvement. Many people scooped up by the local court systems are in process of filing for some form of immigration relief, such as asylum, a U-Visa, or a family-based petition, but are not protected from deportation during the multi-year process to adjust one’s status. This is how many hard-working Virginians have been deported essentially for minor traffic violations like having a broken taillight.

Communities that know or suspect that local law enforcement participate in the voluntary ICE detainer system avoid contact with government agencies. Consequently, they are far less likely to report crimes when they are victims, participate in investigations, or seek benefits to which they are entitled, such as Medicaid or SNAP for US citizen children. Conversely, localities that aid and abet the deportation machine face an immense burden of care for US citizen children left behind by deported caretakers.


What localities have adopted Fair Process Policies?

 There are several communities in Georgia that have adopted Fair Process Policies, despite Georgia being recognized as one of the most anti-immigrant states in the nation. Activists in Georgia have had success in seven localities in getting local governments or sheriffs to adopt Fair Process Policies.[4] All the conditions are right for Virginia to move in the same direction.

In Virginia, activists enjoyed two successes in 2017 in pushing against collaboration with ICE. First, after the Fauquier County sheriff applied for a 287g agreement, community activists successfully campaigned for him to withdraw his application. Second, Fairfax County had a long-standing Inter-Governmental Service Agreement (IGSA) that has been terminated by the sheriff due to community pressure. Virginia localities can and should take additional steps to ensure that all residents are being treated fairly.


What should people in Virginia do to defend immigrant communities?

Virginians concerned about upholding the rights of all people, including immigrants, and making Virginia a more welcoming state should work to get their cities, towns and counties to adopt Fair Process Policies. A campaign to get a Fair Process Policy involves:

  1. Research to understand the current practice.
  2. Develop a strategy (plan) on how to get the locality to adopt Fair Process Policies.
  3. Advocate for Fair Process Policies with community decision-makers.
  4. Set up a system of accountability to ensure that the Fair Process Policies are followed.



 Religious texts strongly support welcoming immigrants. Below are some texts that give guidance to the work of people of faith and activists in Virginia.

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. and a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.:” – Matthew 22:36-40

Who rises up for me against the wicked? Who stands up for me against evildoers? –Psalm 94:16

Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life. – Proverbs 22:22-23

The Messenger of Allah said, “Help thy brother whether he is the doer of wrong or wrong is done to him.” His companions said, “O Messenger! We can help a man to him wrong is done, but how could we help him when he is the doer of wrong? He said: “Take hold of his hand from doing wrong.” – Manual of Hadith

Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the rights of the lowly and the destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. – Psalm 82:3-4

O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor. – Holy Qur’an 4:135

When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the stranger. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the stranger as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. – Leviticus 19:33-34


In addition to the sacred texts, many faith traditions have statements made by their denominations or religious leaders that give further guidance:

The Episcopalian Church wishes to “oppose unfair and unjust treatment of racial and ethnic minorities, and that the whole Church at every level collaborate with other faith bodies, communions, and immigrant rights and human rights organizations to redress these concerns.” (EC 4/03)[5]

Unitarian Universalist Association 2013 Statement of Conscience: Immigration as a Moral Issue

“Our Unitarian Universalist (UU) Principles and Sources compel us to affirm that all immigrants, regardless of legal status, should be treated justly and humanely.[6]

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Presbyterian assembly policies “advocate upholding the dignity and humanity of refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants. Assemblies recognize that these persons are often subject to danger, cruel treatment, exploitation, and indifference. Basic needs for life, protection from harm, food, and shelter should be assured…Concerns for the personhood of the personhood of these vulnerable persons is expressed also in support for the family unity priority in public policy.”[7]

United Methodist Church

Book of Resolutions: Welcoming the Migrant to the U.S.

“To refuse to welcome migrants to this country—and to stand by in silence while families are separated, individual freedoms are ignored, and the migrant community in the United States is demonized by members of Congress and the media—is complicity to sin…The United Methodist Church affirms the worth, dignity, and inherent value and rights of all persons regardless of their nationality or legal status.”[8]

Jewish Council on Community Relations

Consensus Policy Statement on Immigration Issues—2009

“In the view of the core American principles of equality, fairness, and due process of law, we believe…The ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) activities that have resulted in the separation of families, lack of due process, and the detention and deportation of persons with legal status must cease. These activities have had dire consequences for the immigrant community, making many fearful of leaving their homes, seeking healthcare, and sending their children to school.”


Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice: Treating immigrants justly.
As a country, we must welcome newcomers and see them as adding to the richness of our cultural fabric. We acknowledge that the law treats immigrants and citizens differently, but no one should be denied the right to fair judicial proceedings. We urge the federal government to restore basic due process to immigrants (including a repeal of mandatory detention) and allow those seeking asylum a fair hearing.

 Buddhist Peace Fellowship

Right Speech: No Human Being is Illegal by Kenji Liu. “A person is not illegal, they are simply present without certain documents, a human existence that some believe is criminal.”

American Friends Service Committee
Quakers and migrant justice: Lori Khamala – “There is no problem with immigration. Immigration is not the problem. People move. People have always moved. The problem is policies which are tearing apart families and which are not honoring the human dignity of our brothers and sisters who were born in another land.”

Muslim Public Affairs Council

Salam Al-Maryati (President) to Sheriff James McDonnell Los Angeles County Sheriff Hall of Justice: “We believe all people have the same right and ability to rehabilitate. If you agree, then you should not subject y/our immigrant neighbors to double suspicion, double punishment, and less due process than citizens.”

Reform Judaism

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism: The Reform Jewish Movement is dedicated to the pursuit of racial justice, recognizing that our vision of dignity, equity and safety for all people is fundamental to our identity as a multiracial Reform Jewish community. This includes a deep commitment to advancing public policy that will dismantle the mass incarceration of people of color and eliminate racial disparities within the criminal justice system.
Today we urge congregations to protect undocumented immigrants facing deportation by adopting a plan for providing resources, temporary shelter, legal assistance, or other forms of support to those in need. There are Reform synagogues in communities nationwide that are already supporting and protecting undocumented immigrants facing deportation within their communities, and with this resolution we hope growing numbers will join this holy work.



To understand your community and explore the need to pass a Fair Process Policy in your locality, begin by doing research. It is important to know:

  • what the current policy is regarding ICE requests;
  • what the current practice is regarding ICE requests (what actually occurs vs what the policy may be);
  • who makes decisions about agency policies, and
  • whether the sheriff is elected or appointed in your locality.

The goal of this campaign is to pass a new Fair Process Policy in your local jail to ensure that all people are treated fairly with constitutional rights and dignity. As more Virginia localities adopt these policies, advocates will be better positioned to fight anti-immigrant bills at the state level and demand more welcoming policies.

You can find this information by:

  • Talking to people within the immigrant community;
  • Meeting with the sheriff, city council, or board of supervisors;
  • Reviewing the agency website;
  • Submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Talk with leaders in the immigrant community.

If you know leaders in the immigrant community, talk with them about what they know or have heard about the current policies and practices. If you don’t know leaders in the immigrant community, this campaign offers a great opportunity to get to know people. Find out which congregations include a significant number of people who are immigrants and visit or meet with the clergy. Other ideas include neighborhood associations, soccer clubs, small stores that specialize in products serving immigrants and community health clinics.

Ask them what they know about policies and practices. Ask them what has already been done to address the issue and who is leading it. If work is already underway, let them know you would like to join and support it. If there is not existing work, would people from the community work with you on developing a plan to address the policies and practices of the local sheriff? Find out where people from the immigrant community are comfortable meeting and work from there.

Successful implementation of the Fair Process Policy depends on a robust relationship with the immigrant community. For accountability purposes, it will be important to retain these relationships and ensure that the Fair Process Policy is being followed once it has been adopted. Plan to check in through quarterly community meetings or set up a community review board to receive and investigate reports of failure to follow the Fair Process Policy.



A strategy is an overall plan for winning on your issue – getting your city, town or county to adopt a Fair Practice Policy – building your organization, and engaging people in the campaign in such a way that they build a sense of their own power. Don’t confuse a tactic with a strategy. A tactic is what you do to help move the strategy. There are lots of tactics that can be good, but they must be in the context of a strategy.

VICPP staff and leaders are available to help your group develop a winning strategy, but here are the key components of developing a strategy:

Issue Goal: Be clear on what you want to win. We want the Sheriff to adopt our proposed Fair Practice Policy. Or, if the City Council (or other governing body) adopts the policies, you may want the City Council to adopt the policy and the sheriff to implement the policies.

Organizational Considerations: First, consider the resources your group has to devote to the campaign. It could be things like:

  • 10 committed volunteers
  • An email list with 500 names
  • A congregation that has offered meeting space

Then, think about how you want to use the campaign to build your organization. Every organizing campaign should seek to win the issue and build the organization. Over the course of the campaign, you might want to:

  • Recruit and engage 5 more committed volunteers.
  • Build strong ties with leaders from the immigrant community.
  • Add 200 names to the email list.
  • Raise $500.

Constituents and Allies: Constituents are people or organizations you want in your organization. Allies are people or organizations that can help you win on the issue, but whom you don’t really want in your organization. The reasons to distinguish between the two is to make sure that you focus the bulk of your tactics on the constituents, so that “your” people have a significant stake in the issue and feel the win.

Decisionmakers: Who has the power to agree to the Fair Practices Policy? Is it the sheriff? The City Council? The County Commissioners? If you don’t know, you must figure this out before you can finish your strategy. Once you figure out who can say “yes” or “no” (who is the decisionmaker), then you must consider what power you have (or could build) with that person. If the person is elected, you have some electoral power if you can demonstrate that lots of voters care about the issue.

Tactics: Tactics are the actions you do to win your strategy. Ideally, you organize the constituent groups to do tactics, focused primarily on the decisionmaker, to win your issue and build your organization. There are infinite good tactics and your group must figure out which ones you think would be most effective in getting the decision maker to agree to adopt a Fair Practice Policy. Tactics are things like:

  • Prayer vigils
  • Letters-to-the-editor
  • Community forums
  • Petitions
  • Voter registration drives (done in conjunction with a campaign)
  • Solidarity postcard parties

Although there is no perfect strategy and no perfect tactics, you will have a much greater chance of winning on issues, building your organization and having your folks understand and “own” the win if you have developed a clear strategy with your leadership team.

Strategies can change over time. For example, you may initially think that it will only take a meeting or two with the sheriff to “Convince” him or her to adopt a Fair Practice Policy. You may be right. But then again, you may meet more resistance than expected and need to flesh out your strategy more than initially planned.

In the communities in Georgia that got their localities to adopt Fair Practice Policies it has been a multi-year campaign that began in 2014. You should expect that it will probably take similar lengths of time in most communities in Virginia, though the current context may prove helpful. But the ability to win these policies will get easier as more localities in Virginia adopt them.

Most campaigns start with very “nice” and relatively low-key tactics. Hold a second meeting with the decision maker and explain what your Fair Practice Policies are and ask the decision maker to adopt them.

Every so often, the decision maker will say “yes” right away.

More often, the decision maker will say “no”, but nicely. “We have to study the proposals. No one in Virginia has ever done his. I don’t really have the power.” Expect the “no” and be prepared for your next step.

Don’t make the decision maker your enemy. The person (or group) makes the decisions and you want to help the person or group get to “yes”. How can you pressure, persuade, educate and encourage the person until you get to “yes”?

If the person or person or council is elected, what was the election like? How close were the races? Who supported them? Could you get supporters to help you? Who gave money to the campaign?[9] Could any of the contributors be in your meetings with you?

The more you know about the decision maker and what matters to him or her, the more likely you can be an effective advocate.

Keep the pressure on. Escalate tactics at a level that feels one step beyond your group’s comfort zone. Be the importuning widow who refuses to take no for an answer.



Most often, one of the first things you do (one of your first tactics) is to schedule a meeting with the sheriff, but it may make sense to meet with friendly city council members of board of supervisors first. The initial meeting is an information-gathering meeting. Record answers to the questions listed below. (If any information seems suspect, you can do a FOIA, which will be described following.)

Asking for the meeting is simple. You can say:

Hi. My name is __________ and I’m a resident of ___________ (locality). My neighbors and I would like to understand how the [sheriff, jail board, city council, etc.] works with ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. We would like to meet with the [sheriff] to learn more. Can we set up a meeting on __________ (date) at ________ (time)? If that time is not convenient please suggest 2 or 3 dates and times that would be possible for your office.

Tips for meeting with local officials:

  • Decide in advance who will ask each question, who will take notes, and what roles each person will play in the meeting. Not everyone has to have an assigned role, but it is easier to work as a team if this is discussed in advance.
  • Assume they will give you the answers you want to hear. This may or may not reflect reality, and you may need to push for more information.
  • Encourage members of communities targeted by ICE and/or local police to lead the meetings.
  • Encourage allies to keep officials accountable to answering the questions posed by team leaders. For example, if a question is asked about traffic tickets and the official starts talking about ICE detainers you should redirect the official back to the original question until the official has provided an answer.
  • Schedule a follow-up meeting before leaving. The follow-up meeting will be where you introduce the policy you want to be adopted. Let the official know that you will be reporting back to a large, organized group of engaged constituents and returning with suggestions and feedback from the community.
  • Be on the look-out for coded language that reveals bias on the part of officials. Ask them about it.

Questions to ask:

  1. What policies do you have regarding cooperation with ICE? Where are they publicly available?
  2. Do you have or are you considering a 287g agreement?
  3. Do you currently have any Intergovernmental Service Agreements?
  4. Do you allow ICE into the jail to interview people detained? Do you notify legal counsel and ensure people who are detained know they have the right to refuse the interview?
  5. Do you require a warrant to interview detainees?
  6. Do you hold people on detainer requests? (Form I-247 D and I-247 N) If so, for how long?
  7. Do you hold people on ICE administrative warrants? (Form I-200) If so, for how long?
  8. Do you notify ICE of detainees’ release dates? If so, how far in advance?
  9. How would you describe your relationship with ICE?
  10. What is your policy on asking about immigration status?
  11. What is your policy if someone voluntarily discloses that they are undocumented?



Sometimes the meeting with members of the immigrant community and the meeting with the sheriff or city council members will provide enough information about what the local policies and practices are. Other times, officials hide behind policies of confidentiality or bureaucratic doublespeak. If you can’t get the information you seek, ask for information from the Local Inmate Data System (LIDS) maintained by the State Compensation Board by using a FOIA request (under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act) request.  


To request such a FOIA report, email the Director of the State Compensation Board, currently Robyn DeSocio.  You may reach her by email at CAN”T FIX FORMATTING HERE… Robyn.DeSocio@scb.virginia.gov. Address: 102 Governor Street, Richmond, VA 23219  Phone(804) 786-0786


Below is a sample request:


Dear Ms. DeSocio:


A resident of ____________ County, I am researching information about federal inmates housed in the jail and held for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).


I hereby request a report of those persons held for ICE at  __________________Jail (Jail Code _______) and therefore submit this FOIA request of the following information,  for the following months:


_____________ 2018

_____________ 2018

_____________ 2018

I request that the report include the following data:


Holding for code

Holding for Locality



Country of Birth

Country of Citizenship

Dummy Identifier

Commitment Date

Reason Confined Code

Reason Confined Description

Reason Confined Effective Date

Reason Released Code

Reason Released Description

Release Date

VCC As Charged (Offense Code)

VCC As Sentenced (Offense Code)

VCC Description (Offense Description)


I would also like the report to include the reason these persons were incarcerated at _______________Jail prior to being released to ICE.


I am requesting this on behalf of several private citizens from _____________who are trying to understand the role of_______________ Jail as it relates to ICE.

citizens from _____________who are trying to understand the role of_______________ Jail as it relates to ICE.




Your name


The agency has 5 days to respond in writing to your request. If it is not possible to provide all requested records within 5 days, it must still notify you in writing, and is allowed an additional 7 days to complete the request.[10]



The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy is building a statewide network of people of faith and other people of goodwill who want to make Virginia more welcoming to all and who advocate economic and racial justice in Virginia’s policies and practices.

We advocate during the General Assembly and throughout the year with a combination of policy advocacy and grassroots action.

Passing a Fair Process Policy in your locality will make a real difference in your community. We can bring our communities together to extend the impact by advocating for statewide policies. VICPP invites you to:

  • Join our email action list and stay informed about issues and upcoming actions at www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org
  • Talk with your congregation about becoming a Faith Advocacy Partner and supporting the work.
  • Come to Richmond for our annual lobby day, which we call our Day For All People. The next one is January 22, 2019. #DFAP2019
  • Join the Central Virginia Sanctuary Network or the DMV Sanctuary Network, or if you are in another area – start your own Sanctuary Network!
  • Be a Witness at the Capitol volunteer by dedicating a few days during the legislative session to spend at the General Assembly. January and February in 2019. #Witness2019
  • Join our Social Media Team during the General Assembly and spend five minutes a day sending out calls to action.
  • Make VICPP the recipient of a Facebook Birthday fundraiser – or any fundraiser – or just make a contribution.
  • Affiliate your social justice group. VICPP has chapters (groups that are formed just to do the work of VICPP) and affiliates (groups that want to partner regularly with VICPP). If your group shares our values and wants to connect more on advocacy and public policy, consider affiliating.



287g – A particular government agreement that deputizes local law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration laws.

CBP – Customs and Border Patrol

DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; temporary authorization to live and work in the United States for certain individuals who arrived as children.

Deportation – forced removal from the United States

Detainer – A request from one law enforcement agency to another to hold an individual in custody until a transfer can be arranged.

Detention – Usually owned and operated by for-profit prison companies, immigrant detention centers hold individuals indefinitely while their cases are processed through the immigration court system. Farmville is Virginia’s largest immigrant detention center, owned and operated by ICA.[11]

DHS – Department of Homeland Security; the branch of the federal government that includes ICE and CBP.

DOJ – Department of Justice; the branch of the federal government that sets criminal justice policy.

Dreamer – undefined; generally understood to be an undocumented person who arrived in the United States as a child. *Not all “dreamers” are eligible for DACA.

FOIA – Freedom of Information Act; used to request official data from government agencies.

Green Card – Form of identification showing authorization to live and work in the United States.

I-200/205 – ICE Administrative Warrant; not signed by a judge, not a valid warrant

I-247D – ICE Detainer – Hold Request Form

I-247N – ICE Detainer – Notification Request Form

ICA – Immigration Centers of America; the for-profit prison company that owns and operates the Farmville Immigrant Detention Center. Investors are Ken Newsome, Warren Coleman and Russell Harper, all Richmond-based.

ICE – Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the agency that enforces federal immigration laws and is responsible for mass deportations.

IGSA – Inter-Governmental Service Agreement; a formal agreement of cooperation between government agencies.

Immigrant – A person living in a different country from where they were born.

Immigration Status – Federal designation that includes many categories in addition to ‘documented’ and ‘undocumented’.

Judicial Warrant – A constitutional warrant signed by a judge seeking a particular individual.

KYR – Know Your Rights

LPR – Legal Permanent Resident (a particular immigration status)

MOA/MOU – Memorandum of Agreement/Understanding; formal contract between two agencies.

Naturalized Citizen – A citizen who emigrated to the United States and has gone through the naturalization process to attain the full rights and benefits of citizenship.

POA – Power of Attorney

Removal proceedings – the formal legal process to deport an individual

Sanctuary City – undefined; Sanctuary Cities are generally understood to refrain from proactively collaborating with ICE by adopting policies that limit the scope of law enforcement.

Sanctuary Congregation – undefined; Sanctuary Congregations are generally understood to be congregations willing to host an individual facing deportation while they fight their case.

Undocumented Immigrant – A person who lives in the United States without federal authorization. People become undocumented in many different ways, most commonly through inability to renew a temporary visa.

Visa (Immigrant) – Authorization to live and/or work in the United States with certain conditions. There are many types of immigrant visas, most of which are temporary.

VPRJ – Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail; this facility leases beds to ICE.


Language Justice

Some terms you won’t find in our glossary or toolkit include the “a-word”, the “i-word”, and the “c-word”: alien, illegal, and criminal. These terms have been used to dehumanize people who are immigrants. If you are seeking an alternative, consider what it is that you want to convey. A person residing in the United States without current authorization is “undocumented” or “unauthorized”. Someone who has been convicted of a crime is “a person with a criminal record”. Those who were born outside of our modern borders are “people who have migrated” or “people who are immigrants”. Please note the “people-first” language. Our common values remind us to elevate human dignity and amplify the voices of those who are oppressed. Using care in our choice of language is one way we work toward these values.



This is a Model Policy developed by Project South, which is an organization focused on leadership development and political education. Project South was formerly the Institute for the Elimination of Poverty and Genocide. More information: projectsouth.org

THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT shall not detain or extend the detention of any individual at the request of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unless ICE first presents SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT with a judicially issued warrant authorizing such detention. In particular, SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT officials shall not arrest, detain, extend the detention of, transfer custody of, or transport anyone solely on the basis of an immigration detainer or an administrative immigration warrant, including an administrative immigration warrant in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.

At no time may the SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT detain a subject for additional time beyond when the criminal matter allows release solely to notify ICE of the subject’s release or to facilitate transfer to ICE. The SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT shall not treat a detainer or request for notification as an indication that an individual is unlawfully present. Prior to any investigative interview of an individual in SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT’s custody, ICE must notify the subject inmate’s attorney, provide a reasonable opportunity for counsel to be present during the interview, and certify to SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT that this notice and opportunity has occurred.

Any person who alleges a violation of this policy may file a written complaint for investigation with the SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT and with the internal complaints division of the SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT.

[1] https://www.ilrc.org/sites/default/files/resources/detainer_cases_update_october_2017_0.pdf

[2] http://www.richmond.com/news/local/central-virginia/henrico-settles-suit-brought-by-immigrant-kept-in-jail-beyond/article_b385cc95-5b99-5327-bd76-e6043a593ed0.html

[3] Orbegoso, Diego. “Immigration Industrial Complex.” 2018.

[4] https://projectsouth.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/GA-Non-Detainer-Policies-update.pdf

[5] https://www.episcopalchurch.org/library/article/summary-episcopal-church-policy-immigration-and-refugee-issues

[6] https://www.uua.org/action/statements/immigration-moral-issue

[7] “Transformation of Churches and Society Through Encounter with New Neighbors” Approved by The 211th General Assembly (1999)

[8] http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/welcoming-the-migrant-to-the-us

[9] Campaign contribution data can be found on www.vpap.org

[10] https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacodepopularnames/virginia-freedom-of-information-act/

[11] https://www.styleweekly.com/richmond/the-alien-depot/Content?oid=1363030