It must have seemed like lightening struck when the Arlington County Board "rebuked" the recent anti-immigrant ordinances being established in northern Virginia.
How About Human Dignity and Respect?
Arlington County Stands Apart
While Prince William County and others in Virginia are showing us that many people in the state wish immigrants would disappear. Arlington County is taking a different approach. I wonder if the Arlington County Board being all Democrats has anything to do with it? If that is true, does that mean that only Democrats can be reasonable regarding controversial issues? I hope not. I would like to think that Republicans are really nice people and want the best for our country. But as I watch the U.S. Senate this week, I am not so sure. With the Republicans basically blocking almost all of the amendments -- it obvious something is wrong.
When the vote for the DREAM ACT comes up, I hope they are able to retain some of their desire for justice and fairness. Let's hope.
P.S. Its a nice thing to learn that Arlington County has had a record low crime rate as immigration has increased. I hope someone notices.
Arlington Condemns Region's Immigrant Crackdown
By Kirstin Downey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 19, 2007; Page B04
The Arlington County Board yesterday strongly rebuked elected officials elsewhere in Northern Virginia who are clamping down on illegal immigrants, saying such efforts are "politically inspired," "irresponsible" and "punitive."
The five board members, all Democrats, unanimously backed a resolution calling on elected officials elsewhere to "promote the integration of immigrants" instead of enacting rules they said would be divisive.
...They said the county will continue to prosecute illegal immigrants who commit crimes and report them to federal officials, but in a way that treats "all of its residents . . . with human dignity and respect."
The Arlington officials said the county will take no actions that might discourage immigrants from reporting crimes to the police, such as requiring officers to check the immigration status of every person with whom they come into contact. They also said the county will not cut public health services for immigrants, which officials said could cause disease to spread. They said they will not restrict education programs because children of illegal immigrants are likely to remain in the United States and it therefore makes better sense to help them be able to earn a good living.
...The regionwide debate over illegal immigration came to Arlington early this month. At a Saturday board meeting, local Republican officials posed pointed questions to the board about the extent of crime being committed by illegal immigrants and whether officials were requiring the police to report such crime to federal immigration officials. They also questioned whether it is appropriate for Arlington's day-laborer center to serve workers who are in the country illegally.
Board members responded by saying that the county's crime rate has reached a record low even as the community has become more diverse.
In some areas, politicians have been swept to victory by attacking their opponents as lenient toward illegal immigrants in giving them health services, education or employment assistance. In Herndon, for example, supporters of a day-laborer center were defeated last year, and the center was shut down last week.
In Prince William County, a proposed police policy would require officers to check the immigration status of anyone arrested for traffic violations, shoplifting or other misdemeanors. Manassas Park recently canceled a Latino festival that had cost $30,000, some of which had come from city money.
After many years in which relaxed immigration policies were favored by Republicans and Democrats, taking a stand in favor of immigrants now requires some political courage. Tejada is facing reelection, and Paul Ferguson, the board's chairman, is hoping to be elected clerk of the court. Both have challengers in the Nov. 6 election...
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