The county is the first in the state to implement such a policy called the Public Trust and Confidentiality Policy, according to Fairfax BOS Chairman Jeffrey McKay, who said during a Tuesday board meeting that the hopes the rule will be a “model used throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and other states, as well.”
The Trust Policy will “reassert what the role of local government is and the desire we have as a community to assist all people and to allow all people to come forward with the confidence that” Fairfax County is working “with them and not against them,” McKay said.
Neither ICE nor McKay immediately responded to inquiries from Fox News.
The ACLU’s Fairfax chapter said it was “thrilled” to announce the board’s vote in a Tuesday Facebook post, adding that it has been coordinating with CASA, the largest member-based Latino and immigrant organization in the mid-Atlantic region.
“The policy prohibits cooperation and information sharing with ICE by all Fairfax agencies including the police,” ACLU Fairfax wrote. “It also provides privacy protection for resident’s personal information; it restricts information sharing with all outside entities. This helps all Fairfax residents, but especially immigrants because ICE is so adept at data-mining any information from any source.”
ICE will not have access to county resources and facilities that are not open to the public for information under the new policy. Additionally, the policy expands the different types of photo IDs that can be used for government service, subjects employees to disciplinary enforcement if they do not comply, and requires the revision of county forms.
McKay said during Tuesday’s meeting that the Fairfax BOS had been working on drafting the policy for about a year.
“While there are no known instances of general county employees voluntarily sharing information about a resident’s immigration status, such policies are no doubt critical steps forward in building community trust and transparency,” McKay said. “They also help quell fear in our community and ensure everyone — everyone — feels comfortable getting the assistance they need from local government.”
He added that the policy is especially important now during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The rule is an extension of Fairfax County’s general order implemented in May that “enhanced” a “longstanding” rule that blocks direct police cooperation with ICE and establishes guidelines for “police contact with immigrant communities,” McKay said.
Republican Supervisor Pat Herrity was the only supervisor to vote against the policy.
The Fairfax County BOS and School Board follow a November 2017 policy called One Fairfax that “defines expectations for consideration of racial and social equity, and in particular, meaningful community involvement when planning, developing and implementing policies, practices, and initiatives.”
The policy commits to ensuring undocumented immigrants have the “opportunity to fully participate in the region’s economic vitality, contribute to its readiness for the future, and connect to its assets and resources.”
The Fairfax County Attorney, the Department of Human Resources and Police Department helped review the trust policy, McKay said during the meeting.