Montgomery Police Seek Tougher Line On Immigrant Status

As of yesterday, eight of 16 people held in the county jail on murder charges had immigration detainers placed on them...

Montgomery County police are seeking approval to ask suspects arrested for violent crimes and weapons offenses about their immigration status, an about-face in a county whose leaders for years declined to do so even as police agencies elsewhere in the region began aggressive efforts to identify illegal immigrants.

The proposal, developed by Chief J. Thomas Manger and his senior staff, comes after two alleged illegal immigrants were charged in the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old honor student on a county transit bus and after another alleged illegal immigrant was charged in a string of home invasions and the slaying of a 63-year-old Bethesda resident in her home.

“All public officials have been receiving questions from citizens who are asking, ‘Why are persons who are in the country illegally or unlawfully allowed to remain?’ ” said Wayne M. Jerman, an assistant police chief.