Officials in Prince William County, Va., abolished a key part of their illegal-immigration policy last night by directing police officers to question criminal suspects about their immigration status only after they have been arrested, reports the Washington Post. In October, the Board of County Supervisors told officers to check the legal status of crime suspects, no matter how minor the offense, if they think the person might be in the country unlawfully.
One supervisor said less-aggressive street enforcement limits the county’s risk of a lawsuit. The board changed course after slashing $3.1 million from its budget to install video cameras in police cars to enforce the county’s illegal-immigration policy. Police said they needed cameras to protect officers from accusations of racial profiling. Police enforcement on the street underpins the illegal-immigration crackdown, which in addition to increasing law enforcement also denies certain services to illegal immigrants. During the first month of the policy, 41 illegal immigrants were arrested.