President Trump may have agreed to stop separating families at the Mexican border, but Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner (D-Va.) fear the administration could soon concoct a plan to jail immigrant families indefinitely instead.
At a gathering of local faith leaders and immigrant advocates today (Thursday) at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (4444 Arlington Blvd), both senators expressed relief that Trump backed down from his policy of breaking up migrant families that attempt to cross the border illegally.
Yet Warner lamented that Trump’s executive order “raises as many questions as it answers,” and the senators are deeply concerned that the White House will now try to convince Congress to pass some sort of compromise legislation on the issue.
Trump’s order yesterday (Wednesday) required families to be detained together until their criminal and immigration proceedings are completed — but a federal court order requires children to be released after 20 days, and Kaine and Warner both worry that Trump could try to push through legislation to supersede that order and remove any limit on detaining families.
“We could see version two, or version three, of this, that will get presented as something that’s not as bad as what came before,” Kaine said. “But I’m not going to agree to something bad just because he’s being cruel.”
Priscilla Martinez, a fourth-generation Mexican American with Loudoun’s All Dulles Area Muslim Society, worried that such an approach by Trump might prove effective.
While she noted that the public may be outraged about the family separation policy now, she’s concerned that people could become “anesthetized” to less extreme versions of it. She drew a parallel to the public reaction to Trump’s travel ban on Muslim-majority countries — while the initial executive order prompted mass protests, the administration subsequently proposed less draconian versions of the same policy that gradually drew less attention.
“They could easily put something forward that’s still bad, but people accept it because it’s less awful that what came before,” Martinez said. “I’m concerned it’s so bad right now, people might run out of steam.”
That’s why Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, the legal director of the Legal Aid Justice Center’s immigrant advocacy program, urged the senators to not accept that this debate is over simply because Trump has changed the family separation policy. He suggested that they press the administration to allow children to be released to other family members instead of being held in a jail cell, a process he says Trump has worked to make increasingly difficult.
“Kids don’t belong in cages, and that’s the bottom line,” Sandoval-Moshenberg said. “Whether it’s the same cage as their mother and father or two separate cages… Any solution that results in kids being kept in cages is no solution at all.”
Kaine and Warner agreed to that request, and they’re pledging to visit Virginia’s detention facilities for immigrant children in Bristow and Staunton to inspect their conditions. They do take some hope from reports today that the Border Patrol plans to stop referring migrant parents who cross the border illegally with children for criminal charges, but they say they can’t be sure what the White House will do next.
“This administration has no plan,” Warner said. “As we’ve seen continuously, he zigs and zags on an hourly basis.”
Porter Drama Centers Around Arlington — The resignation of White House aide Rob Porter, which has been a national headline this week, has a number of Arlington connections. Porter reportedly has an apartment here, which he shared with a girlfriend before starting to date White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, and the protective order Porter’s second wife filed against him was to keep him away from her Arlington residence. [Daily Mail, New York Times]
Arlington Kid’s Star Continues to Rise — Nine-year-old Iain Armitage stars as the title character in the CBS comedy Young Sheldon and also was featured HBO’s Golden Globe-winning Big Little Lies. That’s in addition to film roles Armitage, an Arlington native whose family owns a house in Ashton Heights, is getting as he continues to build his Hollywood career. Just 3.5 years ago, Armitage was best known for his viral reviews of Signature Theatre shows. [Toronto Star]
Flyover This Morning — There will be a military flyover around 11:30 this morning for a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. [Twitter]
Local Lawmakers’ Bills Defeated in Richmond — A number of bills introduced by Democratic lawmakers that represent parts of Arlington have, predictably, failed to gain traction in the GOP-controlled state legislature. Among the current batch of bills being defeated in committee: a bill to force the release of presidential candidate tax returns (Sen. Janet Howell), create an state-level Office of Immigrant Assistance (Sen. Adam Ebbin) and expand the list of IDs accepted for voting (Del. Rip Sullivan).
Photo via @NCPCgov / Twitter
Minutes after President Trump announced his decision to abandon the Paris Climate Agreement, Virginia elected officials began to share their disapproval.
Trump said his decision to withdraw from the pact, signed by 195 nations, would help preserve American jobs and avoid placing heavy burdens on the country’s taxpayers.
Rep. Don Beyer (D), who represents Arlington in the House of Representatives, highlighted how Trump’s decision to withdraw will negatively impact the United States’ foreign relationships.
“Trump’s decision will be a self-inflicted wound on our allies’ trust in American leadership,” Beyer wrote in a statement alongside fellow members of the House Safe Climate Caucus. “The Paris Agreement was a vision reflecting decisive action, hope, ingenuity, and the ideals with which we would define our country’s place in the world. Withdrawal from that agreement represents a triumph of ignorance, nativism and political pandering, and the message it sends to other countries will be disastrous for the relationships which have built and sustained our prosperity.”
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) released a statement condemning the president’s decision. He wrote that despite the withdrawal, Virginia will continue to do its part to fight climate change.
“The President’s dangerous action today will have a devastating impact on our environment, our economy, and our health,” McAuliffe said. “The United States economy is dependent on leadership in the world, yet the President seems inclined to sit back and let other nations pass us by. Climate change is a threat to our way of life. If President Trump refuses to lead the response, Virginia will.”
McAuliffe also detailed how his own actions have differed from Trump’s. He wrote how in early May, he signed an order to reduce carbon emissions in the Commonwealth.
“The President seems to think that the U.S. commitment to cut about [one quarter] of our carbon pollution by 2025 is beyond the grasp of the country that won World War II and put men on the moon,” Kaine said in a statement.
Kaine added that he wants to be able to tell his future grandchildren that the US met the environmental challenge “head-on and triumphed over it, not shrank and cowered from it.”
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) called the president’s announcement a “rejection of settled science.” He also highlighted how this historical decision will impact Virginians in the future.
“It poses a direct threat to Virginia’s environment, economy and way of life,” Warner wrote in a statement.
But Kaine managed a few optimistic words amid the swirl of pessimism and condemnation.
“I am confident that our nation’s optimistic, can-do spirit will eventually prevail over this short-sighted dereliction of America’s leadership role,” he said.
Budget Plan Has Slightly Lower Tax Rate Hike — The 2017-2018 county budget that Arlington County Board members are set to vote on this weekend includes a 1.5 cent tax rate hike, a half cent lower than first proposed. The budget includes increased funding for schools, Metro, county employee raises, land acquisition and services for immigrants faced with deportation. It raises the tax burden on the average homeowner by about $300. [InsideNova, Washington Post]
No Easter Egg Roll Tix for APS — Arlington Public Schools received hundreds of tickets to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll under the Obama administration, but did not receive any for President Trump’s first egg roll this year. D.C. Public Schools also were not invited. Critics say minority children were under-represented at the event. [Patch]
Big County Events This Weekend — Among the events in Arlington this weekend are a trio of major annual happenings: the Arlington Homeshow and Garden Expo at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center, the Arlington Teen Summer Expo at Wakefield High School and the Arlington Festival of the Arts in Clarendon.
Blue Virginia’s County Board Endorsement — Influential local Democratic blog Blue Virginia has endorsed Erik Gutshall in the race for Arlington County Board. A party caucus will be held next month for the four-way Democratic contest. [Blue Virginia]
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has released a statement on the resignation of Gen. Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor.
Warner, who serves as the vice chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said that he will continue to push to investigate Gen. Flynn and “any other campaign official who may have had inappropriate and improper contacts with Russian officials prior to the election.”
The full statement is below.
Reports that the White House may have been briefed weeks ago on the nature of Gen. Flynn’s calls raise deeply troubling questions. The American people deserve to know at whose direction Gen. Flynn was acting when he made these calls, and why the White House waited until these reports were public to take action.
These developments underscore how many questions still remain unanswered to the American people more than three months after Election Day, including who was aware of what, and when. This reinforces both the urgency and the significance of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s bipartisan investigation into Russian interference, which will include a thorough examination of contacts between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns, as well as interviews with current and former government officials.
Nothing about this resignation, or resignations that could occur in the future, precludes the Senate Intelligence Committee from continuing to investigate Gen. Flynn, or any other campaign official who may have had inappropriate and improper contacts with Russian officials prior to the election.
It is clear that our task is more urgent than ever.
Update at 12:35 p.m. — Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) has also weighed in with a statement (after the jump).
The resignation of Lieutenant General Flynn cements the worst fears of many Americans and our allies about the connections between this Administration and the Kremlin. His alarming communication with the Russian government underscores the need to complete a full, independent, bipartisan, and transparent investigation of contacts between the Trump campaign and the Trump Administration, and the Russian government. It also raises new questions about why the White House didn’t act on confirmed intelligence regarding Flynn’s outreach to the Russian ambassador weeks ago. Flynn is now the third Trump advisor to resign due to unseemly ties to Russia and yet again President Trump is trying to distract from these serious allegations by railing against leaks in his Administration. We need to get to the bottom of these ties to Russia in order to protect our country.
Reminder: Metro Surge Starts Today — Metro’s SafeTrack Surge 11 starts today, bringing what officials say will be “the worst of anything our riders have experienced so far” to the Orange and Silver lines. [ARLnow]
Critical Missing Person — On Friday the Arlington County Police Department put out an alert for a missing person who is “unable to care for herself and is in need of medical attention.” The woman, Amanda Pham Pulver, is described as “5’4″, 115 lbs, black & white hair with dark eyes. Last seen in 3800 block of N. 13th St.” [Arlington County, Twitter]
Leasing Inquiries Up After Election — Arlington landlords are reportedly getting more office leasing inquiries, a trend that began shortly before the election and is continuing afterward. “Tenant tours have increased dramatically over the last 90 days,” said the head of major Rosslyn landlord Monday Properties. [Bisnow]
Behind the Scenes at DCA Lost and Found — From an interview with the lost-and-found property technician at Reagan National Airport: “We’ve had teeth, a prosthetic leg, a power saw, a dog kennel. There’s a fax machine on the shelf. Oh, and rubber butt padding — someone came back and got that.” [Arlington Magazine]
Arlingtonian Lands White House Internship — An Arlington native is among those who landed a prestigious internship at the White House this fall. Olivia Pavco-Giaccia, a member of the class of 2016 at Yale, was on a list released by the White House Press Office last week. Pavco-Giaccia has previously achieved notability and recognitions for her female-oriented science startup, LabCandy.
Home Values Jump 14 Percent — Arlington County saw a big bump in the sale price of homes, at least according to one data set from January. Long & Foster says the median price of a home sold in Arlington last month was $590,000, up 14 percent from one year prior. [WTOP]
Caps Hold Fundraiser for Young Cancer Victim — The Washington Capitals held a fundraiser at Don Tito in Clarendon on Friday for the family of a three-year-old girl who just died of an inoperable brain tumor. The family has more than $100,000 in medical bills to pay and hopes to also raise money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. [NBC Washington]
Problems Persist at Arlington National Cemetery — More than 5 years after major problems were revealed at Arlington National Cemetery, there’s word of new problems. The cemetery’s burial backlog has increased, it’s taking longer to get headstones approved and previously unenforced rules are now being enforced, frustrating some families, reports a local TV station. [WJLA]
Arlington Students Serving as White House Interns — Three college students who hail from Arlington are on the list of spring 2016 White House interns. The interns are: Jeremy Brown, who attends the University of Michigan; Ryan Cowdin, who attends George Washington University; and Caitlin O’Grady, who attends Pepperdine.
County Board Approves Rosslyn Changes — At a relatively uneventful meeting on Saturday, the Arlington County Board approved a series of land use, transportation and zoning changes as part of the Western Rosslyn Area Plan. The changes will allow a new school and new development. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
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
Kudla Advances at Wimbledon — Arlington resident and tennis pro Denis Kudla, 20, has advanced to the second round of Wimbledon by defeating Australian James Duckworth in five sets. Kudla entered the tournament ranked No. 105. [Washington Post]
Marymount Coach Wins Triathlon — Calah Schlabach, a 26-year-old triathlon coach at Marymount University, was the fastest-finishing woman at the Celebrating Heroes Triathlon in Columbia, Md. on Sunday. Schlabach finished the race — consisting of a 0.62 mile swim, a 16-mile bike ride and a 3.4 mile run — in 1:20:22.
Drafthouse Owner Named ‘Innovation Fellow’ — Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse owner Greg Godbout has been named a Presidential Innovation Fellow. In addition to owning the Drafthouse, Godbout is also a software engineer. He will now complete a 6-13 month “tour of duty” working on the RFP-EZ project, intended to make it easier for small businesses to bid on government contracts. [White House]
White House Shooting Suspect Arrested — The man wanted for firing bullets at the White House Friday night, who may or may not have been squatting in Arlington, was arrested in Pennsylvania yesterday. Investigators now say Oscar Ramiro Orgeta-Hernandez was “obsessed” with President Barack Obama. One of the bullets that was fired cracked a window of the first family’s living quarters. [CBS News]
Arlington-Based Firm Considering IPO — Courthouse-based Opower, an energy software company that was visited by President Obama last year, is growing and eying a possible initial public offering. [GigaOm]
News Anchor Remembers Arlington Childhood — In a recent interview, NBC4 anchor Doreen Gentzler reminisced about growing up in Arlington. She marveled at some of the changes that have taken place over the years and recalled the time when there was a nearby A&P store. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Maryva2
Bullet Hit White House — Two bullets have been discovered on the White House grounds after Friday night’s shooting incident. Oscar Ramiro Ortega is wanted in connection with the shooting. The 21-year-old was stopped by Arlington County Police on the morning of the shooting for suspicious behavior, but ultimately he was photographed and released. Ortega might have been squatting in a vacant home in North Arlington. [NBC Washington]
County Board to Vote on Massage Regulation — The Arlington County Board is expected to vote over the weekend on whether to effectively deregulate the massage industry in Arlington. The industry was first regulated in the mid-20th century due to the use of massage parlors as a front for prostitution.
Police to Teach Teachers About Bullying — An Arlington County Police Department School Resource Officer will be educating teachers and staff at Yorktown High School about bullying today. Cpl. Jim Tuomey has developed a presentation on bullying and cyber-bullying that he hopes to eventually give at other schools around the county. [Arlington County Police]
Guas’ Favorite Cheap Eats — For its November issue, Southern Living magazine asked Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Road) owner and chef David Guas what some of his favorite “cheap eats” are in and around Arlington. Guas picked Lebanese Taverna (4400 Old Dominion Drive), Uncle Julios’s (4301 N. Fairfax Drive), Lost Dog Cafe (5876 N. Washington Blvd), and Fortune Chinese Seafood Restaurant (6249 Seven Corners Center, Falls Church). [Southern Living]
Flickr pool photo by Mennyj
Students from Abingdon, Arlington Science Focus, Campbell, Barrett, Barcroft and Key elementary schools went trick-or-treating at the White House on Saturday night. Students — including the two Key Elementary students pictured — were handed Halloween treats from none other than the President and Mrs. Obama themselves.
Photo courtesy Arlington Public Schools
GMU “Protest” Quiet, Peaceful — A protest last night against Nonie Darwish, an outspoken critic of Islam who was speaking at George Mason University’s law school, proved to be a peaceful, academic exercise. Students gathered in a classroom to hear Muslim speakers talk about the experience of practicing their faith in the United States at a time when many are suspicious about Islam. “They don’t want to see an America that’s diverse and pluralistic,” said one protest speaker. Darwish’s well-attended speech, meanwhile, focused on what she saw as the injustices of Islam, Sharia law and Jihad.
Post Looks at Favola/Merrick Race — Does Republican Caren Merrick have a chance to win in the redrawn, Democratic-leaning 31st state Senate District? The Post takes a look at the race between Merrick and Democratic Arlington County Board member Barbara Favola. [Washington Post]
New White House Chief Usher Has Local Ties — This week Angella Reid was appointed the new Chief Usher of the White House — in charge of the operation of the White House executive residence. Reid, who had been general manager of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Pentagon City, is the first woman to assume the title. [BET]
Moran Gets New Website — Rep. Jim Moran has a brand new website. “The new Moran website improves accessibility to information that can help residents navigate and expedite the federal bureaucracy,” the congressman’s office said. “[The site] offers a straightforward format for residents to provide feedback on issues, learn of Moran’s policy positions and legislation, and find information on constituent services.” [Congressman Jim Moran]
Arlington schools were granted 250 tickets by the White House for this year’s festivities on the South Lawn. Each of the five schools were chosen because they had not participated in the Easter Egg Roll in previous years.
The schools were each granted 50 tickets. The tickets were good for a noon admission — after President Obama’s official participation in the festivities, but still in time to see some of the invited celebrities and musical acts.
Glebe Elementary principal Jamie Borg arrived on an Arlington County school bus with dozens of preschoolers, a few fourth grade helpers and a couple of school staffers in tow. Borg said that many students were looking forward to seeing the First Family, but they had other things they wanted to do, in case the president decided to stay inside.
They’re hoping to see President Obama… but I think they’ll just be excited to see anything they can see,” she said. “They’ve been talking a lot about the eggs.”
See more photos from the school’s visit and from the egg roll ceremony itself, after the jump.
Arlington Students Head to White House – Two hundred fifty students from five Arlington elementary schools will be heading to the White House today to participate in the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. [Arlington Public Schools]
Student Project Heading to Space Station – A science game invented by a group of Barrett Elementary School students was the winner of a national NASA-run contest and will now be played aboard the International Space Station. [WUSA 9]
Examiner Takes on 31st District Senate Race – On Saturday, the Washington Examiner simultaneously published two very similar articles by the same reporter on the same subject. The articles take a critical look at the financial and backroom political support received by County Board member Barbara Favola in her campaign for the retiring Mary Margaret Whipple’s state Senate seat. In addition to rehashing an article first published by ARLnow.com, the Examiner quotes potential Favola rival Ben Tribbett as saying that unnamed Senate leaders are trying to ruin his technology consulting business to keep him out of the race. [Washington Examiner]
Flickr pool photo by Chris Rief