State Watch

Northern Virginia sheriff ends voluntary cooperation agreement with ICE

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer looks on during an operation in Escondido, Calif., July 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

The Arlington County sheriff’s office announced on Tuesday that it has ended its voluntary cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Sheriff Beth Arthur said her office will no longer recognize any “voluntary requests” from ICE and will not contact the agency about releases from its facility, starting on Tuesday. 

“I am extremely passionate about my role as Sheriff which includes ensuring the safety and security of the individuals in our custody as well as the citizens of Arlington County,” Arthur said in a letter to the coalition of community groups that advocated for the policy change. 

“I pride myself on making informed decisions that benefit the communities I represent, which has led me to making the changes noted above,” she added.

The sheriff’s office will continue to honor judicially signed warrants from ICE and submit information to ICE and the Virginia State Compensation Board, as required under Virginia state law, Arthur noted.

The coalition that organized the “ICE Out of Arlington” campaign — which included La ColectiVA, Legal Aid Justice Center and the National Immigration Project — celebrated the win on Tuesday.

“While there is more work to do to achieve all possible protections for people at risk of criminalization at the county level, this is a major win for Arlington County migrant communities,” the coalition said in a statement on Twitter.

“We hope that this ongoing community effort will be a model for an ‘Arlington way’ where the people, particularly those who are most harmed by state violence in its different forms, are part of decision-making and leading changes toward truly just, safe and strong communities,” it added.

Arlington County follows in the footsteps of Fairfax County — a fellow northern Virginia locality — where Sheriff Stacey Kincaid ended a similar cooperation agreement with ICE in 2018.

Tags arlington Arlington County Arlington County sheriff Fairfax County Immigration and Customs Enforcement

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