Activists Dictating Law Enforcement Policy to Protect Criminals in Virginia

Press Releases

December 19, 2022

IRLI investigation shows dangers of government cooperation with anti-borders groups

WASHINGTON—While one of local law enforcement’s top priorities is supposed to be the protection of its residents from crime, an investigation by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has revealed one jurisdiction where the priority appears to be shielding dangerous noncitizen criminals from deportation.

IRLI looked at Arlington County, Va., near our nation’s capital, and found organizations that advocate on behalf of immigration violators are dictating law enforcement policy to government officials there.  

While Arlington does not define itself as a sanctuary county, it promotes itself on the county website as a welcoming and inclusive community where every person has the right to live, learn, work and play.”

In July of this year, the Arlington County Board approved the “Trust Policy,” which prohibits county police officers from asking individuals about their immigration status. Patrol officers must obtain approval from a supervisor before notifying Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that they suspect someone they’ve arrested has violated federal immigration law. And, the county board will begin receiving reports from the police department and the sheriff’s office on all law enforcement interactions with ICE.

The Trust Policy was the result of active collaboration between the Arlington County Board and radical activist groups that advocate against border security and actively oppose any kind of immigration enforcement. The groups issued a joint statement with the county stating that, while the policy advances their goals, “it falls far short of ending Arlington County’s longtime collaboration with ICE.”

“These groups claim they are protecting the rights of noncitizens,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI, “but it is a net loss for a jurisdiction when criminal aliens are put back on the street rather than face deportation. The result of this policy will inevitably be a more dangerous community, period”

“It is beyond outrageous that elected officials in an American city would engage in backroom deal-making to further the interests of immigration violators and foreign criminals, rather than fulfilling their oath to protect U.S. citizens,” said Matt O’Brien, IRLI’s director of investigations, whose department produced the report. 

The full text of the report can be viewed here.

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