ACLU People Power Fairfax, a pro-immigrant group in Fairfax Virginia, is demanding that the Board of Supervisors launch an immediate investigation into why Fairfax County has an outsized number of residents in ICE prisons. In a study published last Thursday, the grassroots organization compared the number of immigrants with Fairfax addresses in ICE prisons to that of other jurisdictions. At 12,037, Fairfax County has more residents in ICE detention than any of 37 states. It has 3 times more than Manhattan and Philadelphia, both of which have much larger populations. 
 
Based on analysis of local and national trends, the study finds that Fairfax County law enforcement, working out of the public eye with ICE, may be responsible for a minimum of 2,000 and as many as 8,000 of the detentions. While the Fairfax County Police Department denies it cooperates with ICE other than in connection with its own criminal investigations, this cannot explain the high number of apprehensions. The number of immigrants officially transferred to ICE after arrest is no more than 1,000 residents. Residents transferred to ICE after arrests were excluded from the 2,000–8,000 calculation. 
 
Diane Burkley Alejandro, lead advocate for ACLU People Power Fairfax and author of the study stated, “At this point, we can only make educated guesses as to the causes. We do know that in other jurisdictions, police act as ICE informants, providing names and addresses of immigrants they have no basis to arrest. Fairfax’s participation in the Northern Virginia Gang Task Force may also be a contributing factor. Whatever the precise route, Fairfax has created a huge underprivileged social class living in desperation below the radar. The County must stop enabling ICE.”
 
ACLU People Power Fairfax submitted the study to the Board of Supervisors and is demanding that the Board
  1.  Promptly investigate the cause of Fairfax’s ICE detention problem, and include affected communities in the process.
  2.  Adopt a rule requiring the total cessation of information sharing with ICE that is not expressly required by law. 
A similar request has been made to the Fairfax County School Board, in light of concerns about the potential that student information could be shared with ICE by police assigned to schools.
 
Ms. Burkley Alejandro added, “We believe the data speaks for itself, but plan to dig even deeper in the next phase of our study. We hope that Fairfax County officials will work with us to stem this humanitarian crisis.”
ACLU People Power Fairfax is a grassroots organization founded by the American Civil Liberties Union which advocates for equal justice for all people in our County. There are over 1600 People Power members in Fairfax County. Its primary goal is to end voluntary cooperation and information sharing by Fairfax government with Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE). Because of the commonality of immigrants’ struggles with those faced by other people of color and disadvantaged communities, it also seeks to reduce barriers to equitable treatment common to all vulnerable populations. For further information, contact Diane Burkley Alejandro at 703-868-5383.