County Board to Consider Immigration Enforcement Resolution

by ARLnow.com September 28, 2010 at 10:21 am 3,047 29 Comments

It’s not listed on the official agenda, but this afternoon the county board is expected to take up a resolution that could affect the way immigration laws are enforced in Arlington.

According to a group that supports the “controversial” resolution, its passage would “limit participation” by Arlington police in the federal Secure Communities program and would make Arlington the first Virginia county to “take measures protecting the sanctity of local law enforcement.”

“We support the Board’s efforts to distinguish Arlington law officers from federal immigration agents,” Tenants and Workers United spokesperson Esteban Garces said in a statement. “This resolution in an important step in the right direction. We fully expect continued leadership from local officials on this important issue.”

Tenants and Workers United is one of about a dozen immigrant advocacy groups that are expected to attend the board meeting at 3:30 this afternoon. The resolution will likely be taken up at the beginning of the meeting, during board reports. Board member Walter Tejada will introduce the resolution, but his assistant and county communications staff were unable to provide a text of the resolution.

Currently, Arlington Police only report undocumented immigrants directly to federal authorities in the event of serious crimes. By Virginia law, however, anyone booked at the Arlington County jail has their fingerprints taken and sent to the state, which in turn checks the fingerprints with FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement databases.

On its web site, Arlington County says it “complies with all federal and state laws related to immigration” but adds that “it is not the role of Arlington County law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws.”

It’s unclear at this time what effect, if any, the resolution will have on current policy.

See our update on the county board’s vote here.

  • Jack

    So Arlington has decided to broadcast that criminals can roam free on our streets without fear of deportation. disappointing, but not surprising.

    • NPGMBR

      I’m not sure where I stand on this. I don’t necessarily like what the Board is doing but at the same time “illegal” immigration should not be encouraged. I support legal immigrants 100%. I do not in any way support illegal immigration.

  • Stev9

    This is ridiculous. I don’t want my local government creating a sanctuary city.

    Illegal is illegal. Kick ’em out.

    • Anthony

      We’re not a city. We’re a county.

  • BoredHouseWife

    I don’t think we read the same article.

  • Lou

    Is this really any change in policy? “Resolutions” are usually nothing but hot air and rhetoric. If I read the County policy and procedures correctly, they will still be sending all the required information to the state for proper processing by state police and ICE.

  • YTK

    Look at the Arlington Crime Report — seems like the majority of those mentioned in it are Hispanic — illegally? Legally in this country? This place has NEVER been the same day or night — since the immigrant floodgates were open.

    • bam bam

      Since the floodgates of 1492 this place has never been the same.

      • Just the Facts


  • BrownFlipFlops

    Let me get this straight. The board feels it’s OK to half-step on laws in this area, but views rules on signs and outdoor seating as absolutely sacrosanct and inflexible. In other words, it feels like it has the discretion to just stop helping federal law enforcement on an issue it doesn’t like, but says, “what can we do? Rules are rules,” when it comes to working with small, local businesses on amenities Arlingtonians want.

    It’s unbelievable hypocrisy. One group gets, “it’s cool — we don’t cooperate with the people who enforce those laws.” The other group gets, “hey – if you’re not a chain restaurant or store with the cash for lawyers, an architect on retainer, ADA consultants, etc., we’re going to let our factotums hound you out of existence.”

    How about showing our local businesses the same kind of lenience and flexibility?

  • RJ

    Selective enforcement of laws is a dangerous principle…

  • MB

    Really looking forward to the tidal wave of ignorance and halfwittery that this post is going to bring . . .

    • RJ

      I guess this implies that anyone with a different viewpoint from your own is ignorant and/or half-witted?

      • MB

        No, it states that most of the comments on this thread are going to demonstrate ignorance and halfwittery. And I’ll extend that to state that most of that ignorance and halfwittery is going to come in the form of people who have no clue about immigration law in specific, law enforcement in general, or what it would mean to enforce all laws absolutely and uniformly against all people.

        • Jack

          so you think the government should be able to decide who and when they enforce laws? so cops should be able to decide that rich, white people don’t need to follow certain laws, and that’s okay? get real.

          • MB

            so you think the government should be able to decide who and when they enforce laws?

            The gov’t has, Jack, for as long as it’s been around. I’m not the one who needs to shift into a reality-based view here. I’m sure you’ve broken the law dozens of times this year. When are you going to turn yourself in and demand justice?

  • Novanglus

    “it is not the role of Arlington County law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws.”

    Can anyone imagine the Arlington CB making any of these statements?
    “it is not the role of Arlington County law enforcement to enforce federal firearms laws.”
    “it is not the role of Arlington County law enforcement to enforce federal domestic violence laws.”
    “it is not the role of Arlington County law enforcement to enforce federal hate crimes laws.”

    I really don’t care about how many law abiding undocumented people there are in Arlington. But the ones who become a nuisance (even for small things like drunk in public) need to face all levels of law.

    • stevis

      Actually, it’s not the role of Arlington County law enforcement to enforce any federal law, is it? That’s not their jurisdiction. Sure, they should co-operate with any federal efforts, but it’s not their primary role.

    • Rosslyn Resident

      Arlington County’s job is to enforce state and local law. Federal law is not a part of its jurisdiction, unless the feds enter into a contract with them. Now, most of the things you mentioned (firearm, domestic violence, hate crime) have been adopted and incorporated by the General Assembly into the Virginia Code. So, thus, those Arlington County should be enforcing those laws.

      As for immigration, if Arlington County started to unilaterally deport all illegal immigrants, the feds would object, as it is not the county’s jurisdiction (see, e.g., the recent passage and overturning of the Arizona laws). It looks like Arlington is doing and will be continuing to do the bare minimum requirements under the laws, which is sending its information to the Commonwealth.

      While I’m not the biggest fan of illegal immigration, illegal immigrants are not the scum they are portrayed to be. Many of them are hard workers who DO pay taxes and into the social security system (but can’t take out) because they have false papers. They came here to make a better life. While they should be punished if caught, who can blame them for trying to help themselves and their families back home?

      Finally, not just illegal immigrants are drunk in public. Look at Wilson Blvd on any weekend night.

      • Banksy

        Thank you, Rosslyn Resident, for being a voice of reason.

        • MB


          (I quite hope to be proven a fool, upthread.)

          • OliveSkin

            Well said Rosslyn Resident. I’d also like to point out that illegal immigrants come from all countries and all races. Not all illegal immigrants are Hispanic. It’s also ignorant to think that just because someone is Hispanic or looks Hispanic (whether a criminal or not) that they are illegal immigrants.

      • Novanglus

        RR: No disagreement on the value of undocumented residents who contribute to our society, and of course Arlington can’t unilaterally deport anyone. But we shouldn’t be wasting tax dollars repeatedly arresting the ones who aren’t contributing to society — they should be referred to the Feds and sent home, felony or not.

        And yes, of course plenty of citizens break laws, too. I’d love to see a mass roundup on Wilson Blvd some Saturday night, with deportation back to Penn State’s frat row.

      • que_de_que

        Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • Just the Facts

      Can anyone imagine a local government taking this position:

      “It is not our duty to enforce the federal criminal tax laws”

      Oops, that’s already the position of EVERY local government in the nation. Don’t see too many folks getting pissed off about that. In fact, if County police started arresting people for tax crimes, I can only imagine the outcry.

  • CadeTyler

    Guys Guys! Calm down!
    This clearly isn’t about slavery, whoops I mean IMMIGRATION at all, it’s about Counties Rights!

  • Jason DL

    It’s really nice out. The leaves are starting to drop and this rain has been a real blessing. Don’t you think?

  • John Antonelli

    So much for open government they ought to be ashamed of themselves.

  • John Antonelli

    I take that back.


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