When the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to direct County Administrator Kirby Bowers to look into which services the county can deny illegal immigrants and report back in September, Laura Valle’s phone began to ring off the hook. Valle is the president of La Voz of Loudoun, a nonprofit organization that assists immigrants in the immigration process.
"We had no advance notice of what was coming up," Valle said. "We are the only nonprofit in Loudoun that specifically serves the immigrant community. So naturally, they turned to us."
Valle said she not only received phone calls from the Hispanic population in the county, but non-Hispanics and nonimmigrants who were looking for more information about immigration.
"We found out there was a lot of misinformation out there about immigration," she said.
AS A RESULT, La Voz of Loudoun will host a panel discussion, "Immigration and the Undocumented, Fact vs. Fiction, in Loudoun County and Beyond," Thursday, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m., at the Ida Lee Recreation Center in Leesburg.
Sheriff Steve Simpson will sit on the panel to discuss the law enforcement side of immigration. He will explain what Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) training is and where Loudoun County stands on it.
Rob Ruthlind Brown, executive director of Just Neighbors, will be on hand to discuss the legal aspect of immigration.
Just Neighbors is a United Methodist organization that provides legal services to immigrants.
Hugo Carvello, of a local labor union will discuss the role of immigrants and employment, specifically in construction. And a representative from the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform will provide information about what comprehensive immigration reform is, and what is going on, on the federal level, Valle said.
"Everyone on the panel will be as objective as possible," Valle said. "We want to sort through the numbers, get some more facts and we want residents to come to their own conclusions and contact their supervisors."