Fairfax County’s “Trust” Policy: Unsafe and Unfair

Editor’s note: The following analysis comes from a law enforcement professional in Fairfax County. To avoid politically-motivated repercussions, the author (whose identity is known to us) has requested anonymity. 

On January 26, 2021, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to adopt the Trust Policy which will prohibit the county’s law enforcement personnel from cooperating with federal immigration agents. All nine Democrat supervisors voted in favor of the new policy, while the lone Republican supervisor opposed it. The intended purpose of this policy is to reduce fears of being deported among individuals residing in Fairfax County illegally when they seek public assistance. Simply stated, the Trust Policy prevents Fairfax County law enforcement from providing information to, or assisting, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with the apprehension of persons who are here illegally and are the subject of a deportation order. This action will make Fairfax County and our country less safe in the long run.

An individual can become the subject of a deportation order in several ways:

  • They entered the United States illegally (simply entering the country illegally is a crime)
  • They overstayed their visa, which only allowed them to remain in the United States for a certain period of time
  • They violated the conditions of their visa
  • They committed a crime after entering the United States legally
  • They committed a crime after entering the United States illegally and have been made a higher priority for deportation

ICE remains committed to directing its enforcement resources to those aliens posing the greatest risk to the safety and security of the United States. Despite shifts in the composition of the detained population, including an increase in removals of “other immigration violators” resulting from Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) apprehensions, ICE removals of aliens with criminal convictions and pending criminal charges continued to increase in FY 2019.

Interior removals are those initially arrested by ICE who were subsequently removed by Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). In FY 2019, the overwhelming majority (91 percent) had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges at the time of arrest, demonstrating ICE’s continued efforts to prioritize public safety in the interior despite resource constraints.

— ICE 2019 ERO Report

Across the nation, local sanctuary policies have needlessly resulted in human tragedy. Kate Steinle was shot and killed while walking with her father along the San Francisco waterfront. The gun was fired by Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, aka Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez — an illegal immigrant who, just days before the incident, had been released from a San Francisco jail despite the fact that federal authorities wanted him returned to their custody.

Click here for a list of other serious crimes committed by illegal immigrants — all of these crimes were avoidable, if only our nation’s immigration laws were enforced.

Implementation of the Trust Policy will negatively impact public safety by allowing offenders, most of whom have committed offenses above and beyond overstaying their visa, to remain and be safe from deportation in Fairfax County. These offenders can include rapists, gang members, drug dealers, robbery offenders, drunk driving offenders and human trafficking offenders. In addition, we should also acknowledge that giving illegals sanctuary is unfair to the millions of other immigrants who are waiting to enter the country legally. In short, the Trust Policy erodes public safety while letting illegals go to the front of the line for immigration — it is unsafe, unfair, and it should be rescinded.

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