Home Immigration Video: Legislative Briefing Turns Stormy at Arlington Central Library Over Immigration; Police...

Video: Legislative Briefing Turns Stormy at Arlington Central Library Over Immigration; Police Called

La Colectiva immigration activists interrupt Indivisible-sponsored public meeting with Senators Ebbin, Howell, Favola; Delegates Lopez, Hope, Levine


A sleepy meeting with state legislators at the Arlington Central Library this afternoon turns…well, definitely not sleepy. Check out the video, below. Crazy times.

UPDATE Sunday AM: I put this up quickly yesterday, because I was busy and in a rush, but this incident requires some context. Regarding the issue the La Colectiva activists raise regarding “Immigration Centers of America” and the Farmville Detention Center, you can read more about that here and here. At the former link, it says, “The activists, organized as La ColectiVa, have objected to Lopez, who reported in state financial disclosures that he was paid more than $5,000 in 2014 and $10,000 in 2015 and 2016 by the Immigration Centers of America (ICA), which operates a detention center in Farmville, Va.” At the latter link, you can read Del. Lopez’s November 2017 statement on this issue, including supportive comments from prominent Virginia Latino leaders including Sindy Benavides, Walter Tejada, Leni Gonzalez, Emma Violand Sanchez, Beatriz Amberman, Andres Tobar, etc. I definitely agree with prominent Virginia Latina Activist and Leader and Gubernatorial Appointee Leni Gonzalez that “Over the last six years, there has been no greater champion in the House of Delegates for our community and the constituents he serves than Alfonso Lopez.” Or, as Interim COO of LULAC and former Kaine Administration staffer Sindy Benavides says, “From anti-Sanctuary City bills and ICE Detainer bills to opposing efforts that would make our communities less safe by making it harder for immigrants to cooperate with local police, Alfonso has always fought for our community.”

P.S. Here’s video of the entire event.

  • old_redneck

    This is exactly why I left our local Indivisible group — no one wants to exert discipline on the organization. It’s fun to conduct meetings like this, but, disorder and everyone speaking over everyone else does not win elections.

    WTF does “mass incarceration” have to do with WINNING THE GODDAM ELECTION?

    Someone needs to be working on GOTV, canvassing, ringing doorbells.

    • That was activists from “La Colectiva” – not Indivisible – talking about “mass incarceration,” etc.

  • Noe Flores

    Geesh, they sure made us VA Latino Dems look bad. I for 1 dont support this type of behavior and I will not be joining “La Colectiva.”

  • Harry

    I m a huge supporter of La Colectiva, it can not support it’s friends and supporters this way or it will end up isolated without support which will be a disaster for the Latino community. We elected 2 Latinas in Prince William Conty with great support from all Democrats and Independents in the County and with tremendous grass roots, boots on the ground from Indivisible Nova West. I’m concerned that that the nature of town halls like this will fracture our gains and the R’s will exploit them. La Colectiva, we’re all with you but attacking your friends is counterproductive and will leave you isolated.

    • Yeah, seems to me like they should focus on going after the xenophobes, racists, etc. – Trump and the Republican Party – not people like Alfonso Lopez who have been champions in standing up to the aforementioned xenophobes, racists, etc.

      • Cindy

        72 other Virginia legislators voted to ban sanctuary cities in Virginia, while Del Lopez spoke against this bill over and over. Why not protest any one of them?

        • How about working relentlessly to elect Democrats and defeat anti-immigrant, xenophobic, racist Republicans?

          • Cindy

            That too.

  • Helen li

    Lol. “Prominent latino leaders” seems to omit that the undocumented Dreamer groups from Uva, GMu, NVCC, and VCU all signed a statement of outrage over this massive conflict of interest. You seem so keen to call out business ties when it comes to that pipeline but when its about LITERAL DEPORTATION AND DETENTION youre siding with Lopez? You know better than this.

    Also? If it hasnt been clear enough someone who is making money-15,000$ from caging community members is NOT a friend. It doesnt take much active thinking to figure that out.

    • I wouldn’t say I’m particularly “siding” with anyone here, as I strongly support DREAMERs and others threatened by the xenophobic bigots and demonizers of immigrants in the Trump administration, in the GOP, etc. I also can’t stand private prisons and am not a fan of the entire prison-industrial complex. The big question about Del. Alfonso Lopez – who has been a huge champion for immigrants and the Latino community in the Virginia General Assembly – is what he did exactly for ICA several years ago. According to Lopez, he’s under an “NDA” and is severely restricted as to what he can say regarding that work. If I were him, I’d try to get as much information out there as possible, as soon as possible, so everyone can see it and make up their minds as to what they think about what he did for ICA.

      • Helen

        What you’re saying is akin to someone opposing pipeline protesters by saying Ralph Northam has been a huge champion for the environment. We know that his “huge champion” status is compromised by his continued support of Dominion. It’s like someone arguing that Northam’s continued interactions with Dominion is really just to mitigate harm. You know that’s a BS excuse when it comes to Northam and Dominion, it’s once again extremely disappointing that you’re peddling the same arguments on behalf of Lopez when it comes to immigrants and detention centers. To say that there is a possibility of making money from the ICA in a way that’s not harmful shows how little you understand of immigrant detention.

        His investments in ICA were not just “several years ago” it was 2 years ago. He made that money in 2015 and 2016. Meanwhile yall still hold Northam accountable for a vote he made for Bush over a decade ago… people have DIED in those detention centers during those years.

        The demands are simple and reasonable- they want proof that he has severed ties, which he has not provided. They want an apology, which is easy to do, which he has not provided, and none of yall are holding him accountable to it. And they want the money returned to the community- they want a bond fund for people held in the detention center from the $15,000-$30,000 that Lopez has made. None of this violates his NDA, and returning the money to the community he harmed is something that concretely helps people.

        These people have been following Lopez for over a year now trying to hold him accountable for these investments and at any point he could have tried to address it. Instead he’s avoiding comments, avoiding town halls. Here are also some deflections he has made

        Lopez says “I have friends who are DREAMERS”- Dreamers are less than 10% of undocumented immigrants, and there are dreamers who worked with Lopez on the in-state tuition bill only to find out that he made money from the prison that is keeping them away from their parents. Once again, this is a massive betrayal.

        Lopez says “I have an NDA”- The documents we have this info from are all public documents. Moreover, why would he choose to engage in an agreement where he’s prohibited from talking to the community?

        Lopez says “Why are you coming after me? I’m a Latino and a Democrat”- He benefits from being a white latino who is not criminalized as much as other latinxs, and he is tokenizing the Latino community. Also, the Democrats, like Obama, have also perpetuated detention and deportation. We are demanding him to do better.

        Lopez says “Those detained are criminals and rapist” (yes he has said this before, it was during his town hall with Saslaw)- this shows that he is not sorry for the harm that the detention center has inflicted on the community and not a true champion for all immigrants. This further criminalizes and dehumanizes brown and black people and is beyond insulting. What those detained have in common isn’t criminal behavior, but their immigration status. This also shows how little he knows about ICA…

        Lopez says “I had this agreement under the Obama administration” – It was harmful then and it’s harmful now. ICE has always been violent and racist.

        Lopez says “You should be proud of the work I’ve done with the ICA” -We’re not proud of anything done to keep ICA open. People have died in Farmville. There is no safe or humane way to cage people.

        Lopez says “my public agenda has always helped immigrants” and his private agenda has harmed them.

        It’s also worth noting that they were following indivisible’s town hall instructions which includes “don’t give up the mic until you’re satisfied with the answer” lol.

        Anyways I’m taking the time to write this because I know that you know better because there are just so many parallels to the excuses a lot of other Dems have made with regards to the pipeline. This blog can do better on immigration issues and it’s important that you do so.

  • Jason Rylander

    The full video is instructive. All of those legislators were there to talk about a variety of important issues, and the event was shutdown by a single group over what has become nothing more than a personal vendetta. That’s not fair to the legislators or the Indivisible organizers. The fact is Lopez does not work for ICA and has said he will not in the future. There is no policy goal being sought here in continuing to dog him on this. I understand that some people don’t believe he ever should have advised ICA, regardless of his motivation, but their remedy is either to work with him on things they do agree on (which is a lot) or find a new candidate in 2019. It’s not to disrupt every town meeting he attends.

  • GailGD

    So I assume every single one of these La Colectiva members will be canvassing in the 10th after the primary to help oust Barbara Comstock, right? Because that might actually be effective in curtailing some of ICE’s more draconian practices. A girl can dream.

  • Indivisible Arlington statement on Central Library incident this past Saturday