Press Club

County Board to Consider Immigration Enforcement Resolution

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.

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