FAIRFAX, Va. (TUESDAY, APRIL 3, 2018) – CASA applauds the six public safety committee members who spoke in favor of ending the Intergovernmental Service Agreement (IGSA) between the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). At the meeting held at the Fairfax County Government Center, the Board of Supervisors barred two officials from ICE from participating in the discussion.
“Under the nightmare immigration enforcement taking place at the federal level, we are heartened that our local leaders support the cancellation of the IGSA,” said Michelle LaRue, CASA’s Virginia Director. “We will continue advocating for Fairfax County to end its collaboration with ICE, including law enforcement, to protect immigrant communities. Upholding the decision to stop instigating fear and panic in immigrant communities will get us closer to a more welcoming place for all.”
Supervisor John Foust, Supervisor Jeffrey C. McKay, Chairwoman Sharon Bulova, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, Supervisor Penny Gross, and Supervisor Dan Storck are the six public safety committee members that spoke in favor of the IGSA.
The Fairfax County Public Safety Committee had initially slated the Washington Field Office Enforcement and Removal Operations and, as a last minute addition, the so-called Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office of ICE to speak. The Board announced that ICE would no longer participate in the meeting.
CASA and other advocacy groups were not allowed to speak despite repeated requests for an invitation to participate. Only invited parties are able to speak at a committee meeting.
“The decision to exclude ICE is a direct result of ceaseless organizing and advocacy on behalf of the immigrant families that live in Virginia,” continued LaRue. “If we aren’t at the table, we’re on the menu, and a majority of committee members know that. Inviting ICE to speak and excluding us would have created unequal representation and deepened the damage ICE has inflicted on families.”
At the hearing, Sheriff Stacey Kincaid reiterated the Fairfax County Police Department’s dedication to public safety, regardless of immigration status. Sheriff Kincaid terminated the Intergovernmental Service Agreement, under which the county rents “bed space” in its jail to detain people for ICE. The sheriff’s office will no longer honor ICE requests to unconstitutionally detain people after their scheduled release date.
“As your sheriff and as a law enforcement professional with 31 years’ experience, I would never make decision that would put the public safety at risk,” Sheriff Kincaid said at the hearing. “My goal is to ensure that we have a safe and welcoming community. The sheriff’s office is extremely proud to be part of the public safety team that ensures that Fairfax County is the safest jurisdictions of its size.”
The Fairfax County-ICE agreement, which the county had entered voluntarily, contributed to hundreds of individuals being deported and being separated from their loved ones. The IGSA officially ends after May 23, 2018, following the required 120 days’ notice.