Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail to Continue ICE Notifications
The current policy of notifying ICE of an undocumented inmate's release date will stay as is. Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail Board members voted 7 to 4 in favor of keeping those voluntary ICE notifications, which prompted outbursts that resulted in people being escorted out.
"We are legally required to ask two questions: What country were you born in? Are you a U.S. citizen? That stuff is immediately put into the database. We then fingerprint a person and we send off those records to multiple databases, not just ICE,” said Superintendent Martin Kumer, with Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.
It's the second part that had people protesting the board.
"The second part, yes the secondary notification. That is where we actually pick up a phone and actually call ICE to let them know that ‘hey, the person you asked about and filed a detainer on and asked about the release date, we're giving you this information’,” said Kumer.
At Thursday’s meeting, board member and city councilor, Wes Bellamy, motioned to get rid of those voluntary notifications that occur 48 hours before release.
“Whenever we decide to notify ICE just because individuals who may be undocumented, who have very petty crimes such as maybe public intoxication or loitering for us to notify ICE and have them deported, or have the threat of them be deported, is extreme,” said Bellamy.
Three other board members agreed with Bellamy, but the remaining 7 said the notifications needed to stay.
"If we didn't notify at all, we didn't telephonically, that means there are some people that have been deemed serious criminals in the past would be released back to the very immigrant communities we're trying to protect here,” said Chip Harding, Albemarle County Sheriff. "It's not perfect on either side of the spectrum."
“I’m disappointed, to say the least,” stated Bellamy.
The Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail Board did try to come up with an alternative by using VINElink, which is a notification service that people can sign up for to find out release dates.
On Thursday, Superintendent Kumer said it was not a reliable source and that he is working with VINElink to get the bugs fixed. For now, ICE notifications will stay in place.