If there are really no sanctuary cities or counties in Virginia, the Commonwealth’s most populous county sure has some strange ways of showing it.
First, just over a year ago, Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors passed a “Statement on Diversity and Inclusion” resolution. Long on touchy-feely rhetoric and short on specifics, it nonetheless made clear that the county’s law enforcement agencies would be focusing on “community policing rather than … immigration enforcement.” In other words, turning a blind eye to illegal aliens, regardless of how much the county might still absurdly proclaim, “Fairfax County is not a Sanctuary County or Sanctuary City.”
Next, Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid announced in January that she would no longer be honoring immigration detainers. Detainers are requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold criminal aliens for up to 48 hours after they’re released on their local charges so that ICE has time to pick them up, and they are vital to keeping criminal aliens off the streets where they can reoffend. Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Sharon Bulova (D-At Large) applauded this reckless move. Unsurprisingly, so did the illegal alien lobby organization CASA, which hailed it as “a victory” and a “step in the right direction.”
Not to be outdone by the sheriff, on April 3, the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee took an unprecedented next step – denying U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) representatives the chance to even speak at the Committee’s meeting. ICE official Barbara Gonzalez, who had been scheduled to speak, reacted with shock, asking, “[t]his is America, and you’re censoring a federal law enforcement agency and a partner?”
When some members of the Board tried to direct comments or questions to the ICE personnel still seated in the gallery, Chairwoman Bulova interjected, “I’ve got the floor.” This statement appears to encapsulate the opinions of many of Fairfax County’s elected officials who seem to oppose ICE simply for enforcing the nation’s immigration laws.
Fairfax will soon look even more like the sanctuary jurisdictions of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties across the Potomac in Maryland: overrun by MS-13 and other criminal alien gangs. Indeed, as Board member Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) noted, based on information from law enforcement, “from Jan. 2014 to Oct. 2017 … there were 49 homicides in Fairfax County and 17 of them involved gang-affiliated suspects. That amounts to roughly 35 percent of homicides being connected to gang activity fueled by illegal immigration.”
Of course, during last year’s gubernatorial campaign, both major party candidates and the media repeatedly parroted the talking point that “Virginia has no sanctuary cities.” They said it so often that a lot of people probably even believed it. But Fairfax County’s actions speak much louder than words.