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Immigration Group to Receive County Human Rights Award

by ARLnow.com — December 6, 2010 at 2:56 pm 1,648 52 Comments

The Arlington Coalition Against the Secure Communities Program, which successfully lobbied the county board to attempt to opt out of the federal Secure Communities immigration enforcement program, will receive the county’s James B. Hunter Human Rights Award later this week.

According to a press release, the coalition “assisted Arlington Board Member Walter Tejada in the development of a resolution he introduced in late September.” The resolution passed unanimously. Ultimately, the county determined that it was not practically possible to opt out of the program.

“Leading up to the vote, coalition members distributed thousands of petitions, fact sheets and emails to residents and organized and engaged in public forums to discuss the flaws of the Secure Communities program,” the coalition said in a statement. “The work to stop the program is far from over but the Coalition remains steadfast in its mission to halt the Secure Communities program because it encourages racial profiling, destroys families, destroys the trust in police and circumvents our criminal justice system.”

The coalition will receive its award at 7:00 Thursday night at the county board room. Last year’s winners of the James B. Hunter Award included the Arlington Food Assistance Center, the Literary Council of Northern Virginia, a pastor who worked to help those with AIDS and an attorney who helps the elderly and those with disabilities. The award is presented by the Arlington Human Rights Commission.

The Arlington Coalition Against the Secure Communities Program consists of:

  • Our Lady Queen of Peace Church
  • St. Charles of Borromeo
  • Tenants and Workers United
  • Rights Working Group
  • Legal Aid Justice Center
  • Laborers International Union of N. America
  • Guatemala Avansa
  • Bolivia Avansa
  • National Day Laborer Organizing Network
  • Private Arlington residents
  • PurpleFlipFlops

    Who wants to protest this award?

    • Taxpayer

      I do. An award for creating a waste of time and money? I can waste time and money better than this.

      • John Antonelli

        Shows just what a crap award it really is to group who wants to let criminals walk out streets. It denigrates Jim Hunter.

      • Lou

        Not surprising at all. The county that would twist the HOT lanes into some sort of racist policy and sue Virginia and several government officials personally for it, is capable of almost any kind of stupidity. At least in the law suit they have the motive of extorting money by holding the roads hostage. I can’t see any such motive here though. Just massive hubris.

  • DT

    So they get an award for lobbying the Board to stupidly try to opt out of a program they can’t opt out of? Awesome. I should be getting employee of the month at a company I don’t work at any day now. At least my award won’t be supporting illegals who break the law.

    • Doug

      That’s for darn sure.

  • Mike

    Me. Why would we not want to help deport illegal immigrants who commit crimes? The arl Board would rather they stay in arlington so our tax dollars can be used to subsidize services for more people

  • RJ

    If I get the County Board to introduce legislation that limits enforcement of other laws, would I get a “Human Rights” award too? Or, maybe I can get an award by lobbying (unsuccessfully) the Federal Government to get all of our immigration laws invalidated? So many possibilities to win an award…

  • The Pope of South Arlington

    Where you have Salvadorians you get El Salvadors.

    Let me get this straight, the cops need the trust of illegals to effectively police illegals? Oh, that makes sense…

    Walter Tejada is Salvadorian, his team is El Salvador – It’s just that simple! That human rights drivel is for liberal white consumption only!

    • mehoo

      So are we Europe?

      • The Pope of South Arlington

        I am. :)

        • mehoo

          Go back to Europe then.

          • The Pope of South Arlington

            I do, and often! Dont H8!

          • V Dizzle

            Don’t hate? Maybe check out Latin America on the next trip!

          • The Pope of South Arlington

            RE: V Dizzy

            Ya know what? You convinced me! I’m gonna cancel my trip to Italy next month and book a flight to El Salvador!

          • V Dizzle

            I wouldn’t do that, Italy is one of my favorite places, but each could be a valuable experience.

          • mehoo

            Damn Italians, turning America into a big mafia gang and spaghetti restaurant.

            Etc.

    • CrystalCity’er

      Salvadorans are just like any other immigrant group in this country. There are plenty who are more patriotic about being an American than many native-born Americans I know.

      • HP2000

        Except for the guy who lives on S Glebe that flies the El Salvador flag in his front yard. You wanna fly a foreign flag in your yard? Fine… but make sure Old Glory is flying above it.

        • mehoo

          Really? He has to do that?

          No he doesn’t.

          It’s just a flag, get over it.

    • Doug

      Walter Tejada appears to be for all – illegal aliens and legal immigrants. No problem with the legal but he is pushing the envelope for “illegals” and getting away with it.

  • Rick

    I’ve had to stop shopping in Arlington County. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t spend 1.50 on a pack of gum knowing 1 percent of that goes to helping pay the utility bill for a meeting applauding people that break the law. I can’t buy food knowing 5 percent of that goes to more stupid nonsense like this. I’d rather pay Falls Church sales tax knowing the FC Gestapo will use that to put more undercover cars on Roosevelt St. I would rather GO TO MARYLAND then pay for anything that collects tax for the Peoples Republic of Arlington.

    Kick rocks Walter Tejada

    • Rick

      And before anyone tries and correct me, State Sales tax is 4% and counties/cities get to add at least 1% to it.

  • http://theliffeyswell.blogspot.com Foggy Dew

    Nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said. But still, seriously? Our county board is giving a group an award for proposing the county find a way to avoid deporting criminals? WTF? Perhaps it might not be a bad idea to vote one of these idiots out just for spite.

    Like the attempt to opt out of Secure Communities, the board needs to backtrack on this award. Morons.

  • Banksy

    Once again, I’m amazed by the conservative tilt of the comments on ArlNow.

    I’m proud of my county!

    • Rick

      Are you proud of them spending money and openly recognizing a group against enforcing federal laws?

      • John Antonelli

        Gee if I opt out a a law I don’t like say the usurious County tax laws, can I get a human rights award.

        • Rick

          If I were in town this weekend I would bring you a free coffee at the board meeting.

    • Brian

      More common sense bewilderment than a “conservative tilt” of the comments. Seriously, how on earth do you and the others who justify opting out of Secure Communities honestly believe that sending fingerprints of people who have already been arrested to be checked against a second database “encourages racial profiling, destroys families, destroys the trust in police and circumvents our criminal justice system?”

      It’s sad that the Arlington Human Rights Commission doesn’t believe in the human right of Arlington citizens to be protected from criminals by using all appropriate means available.

    • Bluemont John

      I’m a Democrat–and I think this is 100% stupid. This has been debated to death here on this blog, but Secure Communities is NOT some “Cops pull over any Hispanic person and haul them to jail if they forgot their driver’s license” thing.

      I have some genuine respect for many illegal immigrants; they work their asses off, and they come here in large part because US policies have screwed up their own countries. But Secure Communities is a good idea, and Arlington should not use taxpayer money to blow smoke up its own ass.

      • el fat kid

        well put.

      • mehoo

        I’m also a Democrat who finds racism and xenophobia (including some of it expressed by losers on this thread) outrageous – and I agree, I just don’t get this. The idea that going after illegal immigrants is always going to be racist or evil is absurd. I sympathize with immigrants and don’t mind giving some of them a break, even illegals who have children here, but come on. A country has a right to decide who can enter it, and to enforce that law.

    • mehoo

      I’m not a conservative but I find this ridiculous on many levels. You need to think harder about this.

  • Westover

    This is not a Conservative/Liberal Issue, it is just not appropriate for the county board to be making such proclamation for political actions such as this.

    • Doug

      I totally agree.

  • tuesdayschild

    Wow. I am amazed. Walter Tejada and this immigrant group are an embarrassment to the county. And they are getting an award? Wow.

  • Novanglus

    The County Board tried to make a clear statement that undocumented immigrants don’t need to fear contact with the Arlington PD or Sheriff. From a public safety point of you, that’s not a bad thing.

    Unfortunately, they rushed into the resolution without asking Homeland Security about whether it was possible, so now is that even more press has been given to the fact that Arlington PD _does_ participate in Secure Communities then there would have been without this whole effort.

    Once again, the County Board has made a situation worse that they tried to make better. Giving an award to the people who raised the hoopla and rushed them into the decision makes no sense at all.

    • V Dizzle

      Well put.

    • RJ

      It seems most commenters on ARLnow agree that the handling of this issue by the County Board was mis-handled, no matter what your viewpoint on this issue.

      However, to assert that the idea was to make illegals, not to mention illegals who have been accused of committing a crime, not “fear contact with the Arlington PD or Sheriff” is absurd. The best way to make them feel less fear is to make sure they haven’t don’t anything illegal in the first place – immigration or otherwise.

      • CrystalCity’er

        HA! Plenty of those commenting on this post have posted two or three times throughout the comment thread. That doesn’t mean they represent the larger commentariat on ARLnow, just that they’re a vocal group. Go on and look throughout some other posts on this blog that have NOTHING to do with immigration, and you’ll see how they manage to include their viewpoints on this subject in those posts as well.

        • Rick

          Do you have a point?

  • Novanglus

    The County Board tried to make a clear statement that undocumented immigrants don’t need to fear contact with the Arlington PD or Sheriff. From a public safety point of you, that’s not a bad thing.

    Unfortunately, they rushed into the resolution without asking Homeland Security about whether it was possible, so now even more press has been given to the fact that Arlington PD _does_ participate in Secure Communities than there would have been without this whole effort.

    Once again, the County Board has made a situation worse that they tried to make better. Giving an award to the people who raised the hoopla and rushed them into the decision makes no sense at all.

    • Jason S

      I really don’t care if they are afraid to contact the police, then they can enjoy the crime. People forget that illegal immigrants chose to come here, they chose to expose themselves to risk of deportation, they chose to live while looking over their shoulder, they chose to have trouble sleeping at night. They are not *victims* of anything other then their own unwillingness to wait in line, file the proper paperwork, and respect our immigration laws.

      Besides all of this, the police do not check immigration status when one reports a crime. If they are not smart enough to understand that, then they are probably not going to give a useful statement anyway.

      • Lou

        Needed to be said.

  • MC

    Again, Mr. T and the Board engage in Orwellian doublespeak here. They cite in this award the momentous effort this unheard of coalition made to inform Arlington “residents,” but the Board’s resolution was announced without any prior notification (it wasn’t on the agenda) and I seriously doubt many Arlington citizens were approached by this group or had any prior knowledge of their lobbying on this issue. It’s a gross example of insider-dealing and a lack of transparency, no matter what the merits of the argument, or lack of merits. Classic Politburo politics: give an award to people you agree with, not people who actually try to do things openly and address reasonable critiques by wide segments of citizens. Lobbying is not debate — everyone is entitled to opinion, but that alone doesn’t make someone a human rights hero. This group is cowardly in an open society – shameful, in my opinion.

    • Suburban Not Urban

      +1

  • Ted Williams

    This award is beyond insane. Arlington really stands out as a place that doesn’t give a d— about respecting the law, in this case immigration law. Fortunately, Arlington is one of a distinct minority of counties across the U.S. that behave this way.

  • Jim

    if people are here illegally, they should be deported — not given an award.

  • Sean

    ‘Ultimately, the county determined that it was not practically possible to opt out of the program.’

    As I understood it, the Federal Government told Arlington County there was no way the County could opt out of participating in the program. It is federal law. The County only has the ability to not learn of the results of any inquiry.

    Also, I think it’s important to stop characterizing the Secure Communities program as a bad thing. People who are convicted of crimes and who happen to be in this country illegally should not be allowed to stay here. I don’t know why it goes any farther than that for anyone.

    • CrystalCity’er

      Regardless or not whether you agree with the County Board on this issue, a lot of people seem to be forgetting that ICE was not originally clear on whether counties could opt-out of the program. As a result the Board felt it was worth looking into whether they could stop participating. This was NOT stated upfront. It wasn’t until later that ICE clarified that counties could not unilaterally end their participation if the state in which they were located required their participation.

  • Jane

    I think I am going to be sick.

    • mehoo

      Take the rest of the day off.

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