FAIRFAX, Va. — A small group of advocates for immigrant rights rallied outside the Fairfax County Government Center before several residents offered public comments to the Board of Supervisors against county policies that allow information-sharing with federal immigration authorities.
Many jurisdictions in the area, including D.C., and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, do not honor most federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests to detain immigrants who are in the country illegally that are in custody for federal immigration enforcement. Fairfax County shares information with federal authorities.
“In August and September alone, 73 immigrants were released directly to ICE,” said Sookyung Oh, a member of a Korean and Asian American organizing group that promotes progressive policies.
“Of the 73 released to ICE, 50 people were not even convicted of the charge they were picked up on,” she said.
Oh accused the Fairfax jail of providing notice to ICE of the date and time they are releasing people from custody.
The advocates for immigrant rights want police and the county jail to limit the information it collects on individuals’ immigration status and only share information with federal authorities under very limited circumstances.
They’re also asking the county Board of Supervisors to provide funding for legal representation for immigrants who may be facing deportation.
“We know people who are being ripped from their families by ICE in these Gestapo-like tactics that should not be part of this community,” said Mary Lareau of the DMV Sanctuary Congregation Network, a group of faith leaders opposed to detentions and deportations.
Last year, the county Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution that said Fairfax County was not a “sanctuary” county. The resolution stated that the county welcomed and celebrated “one another’s differences and cultural backgrounds.” The resolution also said the county “does partner with federal authorities on serious criminal matters when required.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to correct the identity of the group.