Board chair Bulova says Fairfax Co. is ‘welcoming,’ diverse county

WASHINGTON — Fairfax County’s top official is trying to reassure county residents who may be concerned about what’s next for the nation’s immigration laws.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova said the county is committed to respecting all residents and celebrates diversity.

“We’re a welcoming community; we’re very diverse; we’re a community which respects differences,” Bulova said.

Bulova said in light of recent statements made by the incoming Trump administration, she wanted to reaffirm what she calls the county’s core values of respect, safety and acceptance.

President-elect Donald Trump has promised on the campaign trail to make immigration one of his top priorities. Trump’s campaign website says that immigration laws will be enforced and that “anyone who enters the U.S. illegally is subject to deportation.”

The President-elect softened his stance a bit on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” after the election, saying that the focus will be on people who commit crimes.

Bulova said she has also received questions about county immigration policies since the election.  Bulova said the county is not a sanctuary county — a place where policies protect people from prosecution for only being in this country illegally.

The county works with state and federal immigration agencies when it’s contacted, Bulova said. The county also fingerprints and notifies the Department of Homeland Security when someone in the U.S. illegally commits a serious crime in the county.

“What we don’t do is to turn our Fairfax County Police Department into immigration officials; that’s the job of the federal government,” Bulova said.

She added that the county wants to make sure all residents feel safe and are comfortable reporting a crime, or coming to police with information about a crime.

Bulova says the county also follows all state and federal laws which require that anyone receiving public services, such as welfare, are in the country legally. Federal law mandates that all children in the county are educated, regardless of their immigration status.

When it comes to the new administration, Bulova encourages everyone not to rush to any conclusions about what may change with the Trump White House.

“I will be vigilant to any future policy changes that could negatively affect our community and all the progress we have made,” Bulova said.

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