Josh King congratulated Sheriff Glen Hill on a “close but clean” victory Thursday night and called on Hill and the newly elected Prince William Board of Supervisors to end the county’s controversial agreement with federal immigration enforcement officials known as 287(g).
King, the Democratic candidate in the sheriff’s race, made ending 287(g) a fixture of his campaign.
In strongly worded concession statement, King called the agreement “the Jim Crow of the new millennium” and said the county’s law-enforcement “cannot build public trust with Prince William’s majority-minority community as long as it remains in place.”
King noted that Hill, as chairman of the Prince William Regional Jail Board, has “both a vote and a voice in ending this voluntary program,” King’s statement said.
Hill, a Republican, defended the county’s agreement with ICE during the campaign. Prince William County is one of only two counties in Virginia that have a 287(g) memorandum of agreement with ICE.
The agreement allows jail deputies to act as ICE agents for the purpose of investigating inmates’ immigration status.
The jail also agrees to hold inmates at the jail for up to 48 hours beyond their rightful release so ICE can pick them up for further processing or to detain them in an ICE facility if the agency chooses to do so.
King also called on the incoming board of supervisors, which will have a 5-to-3 Democratic majority in January, to defund the 287(g) program.
“The county raised taxes and cut public safety services upon its adoption, which has since cost our community more than $2 million,” his statement said.
“We are living in an era in which our country is putting brown children in cages. Now more than ever, it is our moral imperative to do everything we can to end discrimination against and the dehumanization of immigrants and people of color,” his statement said.
“With a Democratic majority, the board of supervisors can and should defund this program. There is no time for timidity.”
King, 38, is a Fairfax County Sheriff’s deputy and an Iraq War veteran. He and his wife, Candi, live in Dumfries and have three children, including an autistic teenage daughter.
In addition to calling for an end to the county’s agreement with ICE, King campaigned on promoting diversity in the sheriff’s department’s staff and for additional training to help deputies work more effectively with people with special needs.
King also called for additional criminal justice reforms to reduce the incarceration children, veterans and people who struggle with mental illness and drug addiction.
“We have sentenced too many children, too many veterans, too many people who struggle with addiction, too many people with mental illness and too many people with special needs to live in and out of cages for their entire lives,” King said.
“Virginia was recently ranked the worst state in the country when it comes to the school-to-prison pipeline, and Prince William County recently committed $44 million to expand our jail by more than 200 beds. Building a bigger cage does nothing to address the root causes of crime,” King's statement said.
King said the race was not about him but rather about "building trust between local law enforcement and marginalized communities" as well as meaningful criminal justice reform “so that 50 years from now, our children aren’t talking about the same things Dr. King was talking about 50 years ago.”
“And it was about the many, many people and organizations who believed in the progress we were fighting for. That fight does not end with this campaign.”
Hill won a fifth-term in office Wednesday after coming out on top of a close, three-way race. As the vote continued to trickle in on Thursday, Hill was leading with 56,242 votes in Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park, compared to King's 55,483 votes and independent Rhonda Dickson's 12,414 votes, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.
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