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Arlington Requests Information on Opting Out of Immigration Enforcement Program

Apropos of my story today on municipalities that want to opt out of Secure Communities, the county manager for Arlington, Va., sent a letter to Immigration and

Kenzo Norman
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Oct 08, 2010

Apropos of my story today on municipalities that want to opt out of Secure Communities, the county manager for Arlington, Va., sent a letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement yesterday requesting more information on how the community can remove itself from the fingerprint-sharing program, the Sun Gazette reports. Federal officials have given conflicting messages on whether the program, which allows ICE agents to access fingerprints taken by local police for criminal background checks, is voluntary.

In the opt-out process laid out by ICE, the first step is notifying the state identification bureau and ICE by writing. But the Arlington county manager merely requested information on whether opting out was an option:

In a two-page Oct. 7 letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement director John Morton, County Manager Barbara Donnellan sought a definite answer following “conflicting information from your agency” in recent months.

“If local participation is voluntary, I request you inform us how Arlington may withdraw,” Donnellan wrote to Morton. She said the Secure Communities program “creates an unnecessary and dangerous fear of local law enforcement in our immigrant community.”

Of course, even if ICE officials allow Arlington to opt out, fingerprints taken by local police will likely still end up in the hands of ICE. As I explain in my story, ICE officials have said that opting out of sending fingerprints to ICE is impossible because ICE actually obtains the prints from the FBI. “We don’t consider Secure Communities an opt-in, opt-out program,” DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano confirmed Wednesday.

Still, Arlington officials said they plan to continue with the process ICE provided for opting out of Secure Communities:

Arlington County Board member J. Walter Tejada, a Democrat, told TWI the county still intends to contact state and ICE officials to begin removing itself from the program.

“I’m aware there is some internal turmoil with ICE, but for us nothing has changed,” Tejada said. “We’re moving forward.”

Kenzo Norman | Kenzo is a journalist-turned-marketer who is fascinated by how storytelling and targeted marketing can result in content that changes businesses. He is responsible for implementing inbound marketing strategies that help his clients raise brand awareness, generate leads, and gain new customers as an Account Executive. Jason enjoys reading on the beach, tracking down mono records, and playing guitar when he is not working.

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