The Board yesterday voted 4-0, with one abstention, in favor of a resolution to include its support for undocumented immigrant driver’s licenses among the county’s slate of state legislative priorities next year. Virginia doesn’t allow licenses for undocumented immigrants, but D.C. and Maryland do.
Board Member Christian Dorsey, who supported the legislation, said he doesn’t see any advantage in not allowing all immigrants to obtain a license. He noted that license-holding undocumented immigrants could secure car insurance and commute to jobs more easily, among other benefits.
“We do have a broken federal immigration system that needs to be fixed,” Dorsey said. “But you know what? We also have people who are a byproduct of that system, who are living in Arlington and who want to do the right thing and fully engage in our community.”
Board Member John Vihstadt, who abstained from voting, said he joins his colleagues in supporting immigrants. But Vihstadt said he couldn’t vote in favor of the resolution.
“There may be countervailing concerns, including national security and administrative issues,” Vihstadt said.
Lizzette Arias, interim president for immigrant advocacy group Dreamers of Virginia, said in a statement after the vote that the Board took a “responsible stand” on the matter.
“The undocumented community in Virginia desperately needs access to driver’s licenses,” she said. “For many driving is not a luxurious privilege but a necessity.”
Meanwhile, citing fears among the local immigrant community, the County Board also acted to reassure immigrants of “its commitment as a welcoming community that recognizes, respects and supports the contributions of all of its members.”
From an Arlington County press release:
The Board reaffirmed the long-standing County law enforcement “policy against racial profiling which prohibits our deputies and officers from taking action based solely on that individual’s race, ethnicity or national origin.” And noted that “a person’s right to file a police report, participate in police-community activities, or otherwise benefit from police services is not contingent upon citizenship or immigration status.”
In a statement read by Board Member Katie Cristol, the Board said it was responding to “increased anxiety, fear and panic among our region’s immigrant community,” which the Board attributed to “a number of factors, including federal immigration enforcement actions currently being conducted around the country, as well as the more recent national debate sparked by the 2016 Presidential Election cycle and the United States Supreme Court’s review of the Obama Administration’s Executive Actions on immigration.”
“Arlington County always has and always will be a caring and inclusive community that strives to provide a safe and secure environment where all of our residents have the ability to achieve their potential and live out their dreams,” Cristol said. “I was disheartened to hear of the concerns in our immigrant community and my colleagues and I wanted to make certain we restated our strong and unequivocal commitment to all of our residents.”
The resolution, below, states that there is a safety and economic benefit to issuing provisional driver’s licenses to non-citizens.
The resolution directs the County Manager to include support for such a policy in the county’s slate of state legislative priorities next year. Virginia doesn’t have any such law but D.C. and Maryland do.
WHEREAS, Arlington is an exceptionally diverse county with a substantial immigrant population and strives to be a “diverse and inclusive” community; and
WHEREAS, immigrants without driver’s licenses experience a diminished quality of life affecting their ability to hold a stable job, take care of their families, and fully participate in the county they call home; and
WHEREAS, in recent years, new laws have passed that now offer a driver’s license or a provisional license to immigrant residents of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, and Washington, D.C., and
WHEREAS, these laws reflect a national and collective understanding that offering driver’s licenses to undocumented residents provides an overall economic benefit to states and improves public safety by enabling authorities to know who is on the roads and to ensure that all drivers are properly insured.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Arlington County Board believes that offering driver’s licenses to the undocumented residents of Virginia would benefit Arlington County and the Commonwealth of Virginia and encourages the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia to pass a bill and send it to the Governor for consideration.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Arlington County Board directs the County Manager, or his designee, to include this policy in Arlington County’s proposed 2017 General Assembly Legislative Priorities.
Arlington resident and 86-year-old World War II veteran Rudy Panaglima delivered a heartfelt speech on Capitol Hill Thursday morning, thanking lawmakers for a new immigration that allow Filipino veterans to be reunited with their families.
Panaglima was just 13 years old when he joined a Philippine guerrilla unit that secretly worked with the United States during World War II. Eventually, he became a member of the United States Army in the Philippines.
Filipino veterans who served for the United States during World War II received citizenship in appreciation for their service. However, many of their children were not able to.
Panaglima and his 83 year old wife Pura, have been waiting since 1995 for their two sons to come to the United States.
“We need our sons to take care of us because of our age,” said Panaglima.
Other speakers included Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D), Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono (D), Nevada Sen. Harry Reid (D) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service Chief of Staff Juliet Choi.
“For too many years, Filipino veterans who fought valiantly alongside the United States in World War II – including many who call Virginia home – have been waiting for the promise of reunification with their families to be fulfilled,” Kaine said. “I’m so pleased that implementation of the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program has finally begun and that families like Rudy and Pura Panaglima of Arlington will soon be reunited with their sons who can provide them with much-needed care.”
Panaglima and his wife Pura have been living in the United States for over 21 years. Throughout the years, they have moved all around the D.C. area. However, now they currently reside along Lee Highway.
The Filipino World War II Veterans Parole (FWVP) Program, which officially took effect Wednesday, allows Filipino veterans or their spouses, whose service has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense, to apply to bring their children to the United States. The policy also allows the families to be together in the United States while the applications are processed.
“In a few months, my two sons will be with us in America because of this program. On behalf of the Panaglima family I would like to convey our gratitude,” said Panaglima.
Women of Vision Honorees Announced — The 2016 Arlington County Women of Vision award winners have been announced. The honorees are Arlington Public Library director Diane Kresh, Sprout CEO Rebecca Carpenter and STEM education advocate Susan Senn. Kresh, Carpenter and Senn will be honored at a ceremony on Tuesday, June 28. [Arlington County]
Immigration Rally in Arlington — Local immigrants rallied in Arlington last night “to make their voices heard — and some began the process of becoming a citizen.” Some 100 people attended the CASA-sponsored event. [WJLA]
APAH Gets Big Grant — The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing announced yesterday that it was one of 40 nonprofits nationwide to be selected for a grant from the Citi Foundation Community Progress Makers Fund. “APAH will receive a core operating support grant of $500,000 over the course of two years to continue its work in the community around affordable housing.” [APAH]
Photo by Jackie Friedman
Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of the immigrant advocacy and services organization CASA, says anti-immigrant rhetoric is prompting anxiety in the immigrant community and an increase in naturalization applications. His group is encouraging eligible Virginia residents to follow that trend and naturalize in time to vote this November.
CASA and Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) are joining forces next Wednesday, May 18, for an event that will be part rally, part clinic “where CASA staff will advise potential citizenship seekers on the viability of their application.” The event will take place at Patrick Henry Elementary School (701 S. Highland Street) at 7:30 p.m.
“There is something unique and significant going on in immigrant communities,” Gutiérrez said in a media advisory about the event (below). “Wherever I travel in the U.S. these days, I see large numbers of eligible immigrants coming forward to apply for naturalization. When there is anxiety about what appears to be rising xenophobia, that always motivates people who can seek citizenship to do so and motivates citizens to become voters.”
The full advisory, after the jump.
Rapper Arrested in Arlington — D.C. rapper Martrel Reeves, better known as Fat Trel, was arrested by Arlington County Police early Thursday morning after a traffic stop in I-395. Reeves is reportedly facing charges of DWI, narcotics distribution, speeding and driving on a revoked license. [WJLA, XXL]
APS May Hire Horticulturist — In its new budget, the Arlington School Board is considering hiring a horticulturalist — “to help us keep our trees healthy” — along with a public engagement specialists and more psychologists and social workers. [InsideNova]
Beyer Dines With Undocumented Family — Earlier this week, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) sat down for dinner with the Pintos, a local family of five that includes a set of parents who are in the U.S. illegally but eligible for the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. Beyer is encouraging Republicans to follow suit and get to know immigrant families like the Pintos. [Think Progress]
Garvey Wants Easier Access to TR Island — County Board Chair Libby Garvey says she is committed to getting a more direct connection from Rosslyn to Roosevelt Island built. Such a connection would require a bridge over I-66 and the GW Parkway. It could potentially get built as part of the massive Rosslyn Plaza development, which was recently approved by the County Board. [InsideNova]
Congratulations to Borderstan — A big congratulations to our sister site, Borderstan, for being recognized in this year’s “Best of D.C.” list. Borderstan — which covers the Dupont, Logan and Columbia Heights communities of D.C. — was named “Best Revival,” after being relaunched last year. [Washington City Paper]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
I-66 Public Hearing at W-L — VDOT is holding a public hearing on the changes planned for I-66 tonight. The hearing is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. at Washington-Lee High School’s cafeteria. Meanwhile, one letter-writer is decrying the “whining” from Arlington residents who complain about the proposed partial widening of I-66 while using it to make a reverse commute to Fairfax County — and the protestations from Arlington policymakers who are more than happy to have large employers come to Ballston and other dense neighborhoods along I-66, thus increasing traffic on the highway. [VDOT, Washington Post]
Wakefield, Yorktown Victorious in Key Games — The Wakefield boys basketball squad defeated Deep Run 50-48 on Saturday to advance to the semifinals of the 5A state basketball tournament. This will be the Warriors’ third semifinal appearance in four seasons. Yorktown’s hockey team, meanwhile, defeated Washington-Lee 5-3 at Kettler Capitals Iceplex Friday night. [InsideNova, Twitter]
Abingdon Elementary Design Approved — On Thursday the Arlington School Board approved a final design for an addition and renovation to Abingdon Elementary School in Fairlington. The project will add 12 classrooms and 136 seats to the school, while renovating the gym, kitchen and media space. [Arlington Public Schools]
Retired Fire Officials Speak Out Against Station Move — Two retired Arlington County Fire Department officials say a proposed relocation of Fire Station 8 from Lee Highway to a county-owned location farther north does not make practical sense and would mostly benefit residents of Fairfax County. Residents around the current fire station and around its proposed new location have been protesting the planned move. [InsideNova]
Arlington Complying With Immigration Detainers — Arlington County law enforcement is complying with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests for jail inmates, but only if ICE reimburses the county for certain expenses and picks up the inmate within 48 hours. Fearing that some jurisdictions are not complying with federal detainers, Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly have proposed bills to make such requests mandatory. [Washington Post]
County Board to Meet With Commission Chairs — The Arlington County Board tonight is holding a meeting with the chairmen of the county’s advisory commissions. ARLnow.com hears that the Board has received complaints about certain commissions overstepping their bounds or operating inefficiently. The meeting will address diversity in commission membership, training for commission members and potential improvements to commission communication and community outreach. [Arlington County]
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids have local undocumented immigrant families on edge, fearful to send their kids to school, according to an email sent to parents by Arlington Public Schools.
In the email, Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy says he’s “concerned” about reports of raids targeting adults and children who have recently fled Central America. Murphy says APS strives to provide a welcoming learning environment for all students.
“In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public schools may not deny access to any child, whether present in the United States legally or otherwise,” Murphy writes. “More recently in May 2014, the Secretary of Education and Attorney General reaffirmed this ruling and provided guidance to all public school leaders to ensure public school access for all children, regardless of their immigration status.”
“I want to reassure all of our families that children in our care will be safe,” said Murphy. The full email is below.
Dear APS Families and Staff,
I have been concerned by recent news reports about raids to deport adults and children who have fled violence in Central America and recently migrated to the United States. Because of these actions by members of the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, Arlington Public Schools’ (APS) teachers, administrators and Board members have heard reports that some families in our community are fearful to send their children to school. I want to reassure all of our families that children in our care will be safe.
APS is committed to providing an excellent public education to every school-aged student residing in Arlington County. In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public schools may not deny access to any child, whether present in the United States legally or otherwise. More recently in May 2014, the Secretary of Education and Attorney General reaffirmed this ruling and provided guidance to all public school leaders to ensure public school access for all children, regardless of their immigration status.
As educators, the staff of Arlington Public Schools has always acknowledged our legal and, more importantly, our moral obligations to provide an education to all students who live in our community. The School Board’s Vision statement reaffirms our commitment to all children by affirming that we are, “a diverse and inclusive school community, committed to academic excellence and integrity. We provide instruction in a caring, safe and healthy learning environment, responsive to each student, in collaboration with families and the community.” In addition, the School Board has adopted as one of our Core Values to “value all students, staff and families in our diverse, inclusive school community.”
All of us are deeply committed to providing instruction in a caring, safe and healthy learning environment that is responsive to each student.
We believe that the diversity of Arlington County is one of our community’s most significant assets, and we value and will continue to support all of our students and families.
Dr. Patrick K. Murphy
Arlington Public Schools
Pentagon City Apartment Complex Gets Financing — The Altaire, the high-end residential development at 400 Army Navy Drive, has obtained $100 million in financing from Wells Fargo and is expected to begin construction this month. The 20-story complex will have two towers with a total of 453 units. Construction is expected to be complete by the second quarter of 2018. [Washington Business Journal]
History of Hall’s Hill — This year is the 150th anniversary of the historically African-American neighborhood of Hall’s Hill, also known as High View Park. An event on the community’s history last week revealed the origin of its name. Hall’s Hill is named after Bazil Hall, a white slaveholder who sold plots of land to freed slaves after the Civil War to spite his white neighbors. [InsideNova]
Arlington Real Estate Agent Invited to SOTU — Naveed Shah, an Army veteran and a Rosslyn-based real estate agent, was invited to be a guest of the White House at tonight’s State of the Union Address. Despite the fact that Shah and his family moved to the U.S. when he was two, after living in Saudi Arabia, Shah grew up in Northern Virginia and describes himself as “as American as it gets.” [Military Times, NBC Washington]
Local Immigrants Worried About ICE Raids — There’s growing fear among undocumented immigrants in Northern Virginia of stepped-up U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids. Advocates are advising immigrant families “to have a plan for their kids in case they’re deported.” In other news, it’s said that ICE agents “are making their presence felt and regularly hang around the Taco Bell on Little River Turnpike” in Annandale. [Annandale VA]
Arlington Young Dems, GOPers Working Together — In a show of bipartisanship during the heat of a presidential election year, the chairs of the Arlington Young Democrats and the Arlington-Falls Church Young Republicans met over the weekend to plan joint community service events in 2016. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Tom Gjelten’s latest book A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story considers the impact of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act.
Gjelten will be at the Arlington Central Library auditorium at 1015 N. Quincy Street from 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 10. for a conversation on immigration and book signing.
The book uses demographic and political issues in addition to personal stories to analyze this topic. The stories used are those of families in Fairfax County, including the family of Delegate Mark Keam. He will also be at the event as a special guest and contributor to the conversation.
Copies of the book will also be on sale from One More Page Books, and 10 percent of all sales will benefit the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia.
The book talk is free and open to the public. Interested guests do not have to register in advance.
Photo via Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
About 20-30 protesters are on the march from Courthouse to Georgetown to the White House this morning.
The “March for Immigrant Families and an End to Deportations” started outside the Arlington County government building in Courthouse and as of 9:30 a.m. was at Lynn Street and Wilson Blvd in the center of Rosslyn.
Demonstrators will cross the Key Bridge into Georgetown, before making their way to the White House. From the Washington Peace Center website:
Come walk from Arlington Virginia to the White House in recognition of the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s announcement concerning Immigration Relief (DAPA, DACA extended). With the recent 5th Circuit decision to keep both programs blocked, it is imperative that we demonstrate the urgent need for relief for millions of immigrant families including those with US citizen children, all of whom continue to live in fear of deportation.
Press Conference at the White House: Marchers will hold a press conference at 11:30 A.M. in front of the White House.
Immigrant Group Launches Get-Out-the-Vote Campaign — The immigrant rights group CASA Virginia launched a new get-out-the-vote campaign aimed at women yesterday. “It’s time we raise the minimum wage and improve child care,” said a CASA representative, at a press conference yesterday held at the Arlington courthouse plaza. County Board chair Mary Hynes and vice-chair Walter Tejada were at the press conference and issued a proclamation calling on residents to support the campaign. [Washington Post]
Longer Parking Meter Hours Still on Hold — A plan to extend the hours of parking meters in Arlington from 6 to 8 p.m. is still on hold due to “a backlash from the public and business leaders.” Said acting County Manager Mark Schwartz: “It needs more work.” [InsideNova]
Albino Squirrel Spotted in Arlington — An all-white squirrel has been spotted in a North Arlington neighborhood. Such albino squirrels are “extremely rare” but have been spotted in Arlington before. [Washington Post]
Firefighters Endorse Dorsey — Arlington County Board candidate Christian Dorsey has picked up the endorsement of the Arlington Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association. The firefighters previously endorsed Dorsey’s Democratic ticketmate Katie Cristol. [InsideNova]
Sandra Bullock Remembers W-L Cheerleader Days — Oscar-winning actress and Arlington native Sandra Bullock says her Washington-Lee High School cheerleading uniform still fits like a glove. “That might come in handy some sexy night. I don’t know who I’m saving it for,” she told Glamour magazine. [Daily Mail]
ICE Detainer for Sexual Assault Suspect — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed a detainer on Melvin Bonilla, the suspect in a string of sexual assaults in Arlington. Bonilla was arrested by Arlington County Police yesterday morning. [Fox 5]
Opposition to Homeless Shelter Winds Down — With Arlington’s new Homeless Services Center now open across from police headquarters in Courthouse, nearby residents are apparently starting to acquiesce to their new neighbor. Reports “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark: “Many neighbors in condos alongside the Courthouse building at 2020 N. 14th St. have rethought their opposition.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Lockdown Drills for Pre-K Students — An Arlington Pre-K teacher reflects on having her students participate in lockdown drills, which would be used in the event of an active shooting situation. The drills are now routine in Arlington elementary schools, the teacher says. [Washington Post]
Library Launches Sci-Fi Book Club — Arlington Public Library has launched “Strange Lands,” a science fiction book club that will meet monthly at Java Shack in Courthouse, starting Oct. 21. [Arlington Public Library]
VOICE Launches Voter Outreach Effort — The pro-affordable housing group Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement, or VOICE, is launching a voter outreach effort this fall. VOICE plans to concentrate turnout efforts on two low-turnout precincts: Arlington Mill and Glebe. [InsideNova]
Fire at Columbia Pike Gas Station — A small fire, reportedly started by an acetylene torch, prompted a large fire department response at the Citgo gas station on Columbia Pike yesterday morning. The fire was quickly extinguished. [Twitter]
Bills Proposed to Scuttle Immigration Office — Three Republicans are sponsoring legislation in the House of Representatives that would block the Obama administration from opening a new immigration office in Crystal City. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office could bring some 1,000 jobs to the area, but Republicans worry that it may eventually be intended to process cases of what they term Obama’s “executive amnesty” program. [Washington Business Journal, Breitbart]
Arlington Housing Cools a Bit — Arlington’s hot real estate market cooled a bit in May, according to recently released housing sales data. The volume of sales was down 10 percent in May while the median selling price held steady. [Washington Business Journal]
Association Moving to Crystal City — The Aluminum Association, a trade group, is moving into a new headquarters in Crystal City this week. The association is moving into the refurbished, LEED Gold certified office building at 1400 Crystal Drive. [Associations Now]
Flickr pool photo by Alves Family
Car2Go Coming to Arlington — Arlington County is giving the car sharing service Car2Go a try. The county will allow up to 200 Car2Go vehicles on the streets, in metered parking spots, as part of a one year pilot program. Car2Go will pay the county for use of metered spaces. [UrbanTurf, WTOP]
‘Jen’s Kitchen’ Now Open in Va. Square — “Jen’s Kitchen” has reportedly opened in Virginia Square, replacing the former Metro Cafe and Gourmet at 901 N. Nelson Street. [Twitter]
Texas Questioning New Office in Arlington — Senate Republicans and the Texas Attorney General’s office are asking the Obama administration for more information about an immigration services facility that’s bringing hundreds of jobs to Crystal City. The office was originally intended to help with processing related to Obama’s executive action on immigration, which is currently on hold due to legal challenges. [Breitbart]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley