The following is a statement issued last week from the Arlington County Board concerning immigration.
Over the course of the past few months, residents and community advocates have made us aware of increased anxiety, fear and panic among our region’s immigrant community. This unrest has been driven by a number of factors, including federal immigration enforcement actions currently being conducted around the country, as well the more recent national debate sparked by the 2016 Presidential Election cycle and the U.S. Supreme Court’s review of the Obama Administration’s Executive Actions on immigration.
We are deeply concerned by these reports and therefore wanted to deliver this statement directly to our community.
Arlington County remains committed to making certain that all of our residents have the ability to engage as full members of our community.
With regards to law enforcement and public safety, we are concerned that fear of local law enforcement could undermine the relationships and community partnership upon which successful policing strategies depend. Let us be clear — all residents and visitors of Arlington County have the right to public safety protections. It is long-standing policy that Arlington County law enforcement has not and will not monitor, detain, interview, or investigate a person solely for the purpose of determining their immigration status. Action by our law enforcement officers is based upon reasonable suspicion or probable cause of criminal activity, and we have a strong policy against racial profiling which prohibits our deputies and officers from taking action based solely on that individual’s race, ethnicity or national origin. Importantly, 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. If you are in need of assistance from Arlington County law enforcement, they are here to serve you.
Additionally, Arlington County has and will continue to provide important services and programs for our immigrant community as permitted by law. We will continue to work together with our community partners in our efforts to promote self-sufficiency and community belonging, creating a community where all Arlingtonians have the ability to reach their potential and thrive.
Arlington County has always been and will remain a community that welcomes and values all of its residents, treating them with human dignity and respect, regardless of immigration status. One of Arlington County’s core principles, and indeed one of our greatest strengths, is our diversity. The broad range of views, cultures, backgrounds and experiences among our residents adds to the richness of our lives and the strength of our community.
We look forward to continuing together, as one Arlington, in the best traditions of our community and our nation.