The following statement from Del. Alfonso Lopez is in response to this story (“Pro-immigrant activists pressure Democratic state lawmaker over ties to Farmville detention center”) and to criticism from the Latino activist group La ColectiVa:
Statement from Delegate Alfonso Lopez
“Since I was first elected in 2011, I have filed all necessary documents and they have always been publicly available.
Let me be clear, I am proud of my heritage and I’m proud of my record of achievement at the forefront of the fight for a more inclusive, diverse, and welcoming Commonwealth. My work on behalf of immigrants and New Americans in the Virginia House of Delegates over the last six years reflects that truth.
As a delegate, I’ve lead the fight against anti-sanctuary city legislation, ICE Detainer bills, and any legislation that might unfairly demonize immigrants and New Americans. I’ve also successfully helped lead the fight to expand access to Medicaid coverage for immigrant mothers, cracked down on Notario fraud, and worked with the Attorney General to get in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants. I’m proud to have always been an open, honest, and a fierce advocate for my community.”
Support from Virginia Latino Leaders
Sindy Benavides, Interim COO of LULAC and former Kaine Administration staffer – “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. I’ve known Alfonso for years and know that he will continue to stand with us. I’ve worked closely with Alfonso. I trust Alfonso to always be the voice of reason and fight for a Commonwealth that is inclusive and welcoming to all communities.”
The Honorable J. Walter Tejada, President of the Virginia Latino Leaders Council and former Chair of the Arlington County Board – “I’ve known Alfonso for many years and have worked with him to help immigrants and Latinos in Virginia long before either of us held elected office. During that time, I’ve seen firsthand his dedication to advancing the rights of immigrants in Virginia. He is extremely passionate about making Virginia open and welcoming for New Americans and does an outstanding job of representing our community in the House of Delegates.”
Leni Gonzalez, prominent Virginia Latina Activist and Leader and Gubernatorial Appointee – “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. In addition to his legislative accomplishments assisting immigrants in Virginia, Alfonso has helped organize bilingual health care enrollment and college counseling events to help immigrants in his community gain access to health care and higher education. He has always been committed to expanding opportunity for Virginia’s immigrants and New Americans.”
Beatriz Amberman, Virginia Beach Latina Leader and Activist – “Alfonso has been committed to making sure Latinos and immigrants have a seat at the table in Virginia since long before he was elected to the House of Delegates. I trust him to be our voice in Richmond and to continue advancing the rights of immigrants in Virginia for many years to come.”
Carolina Espinal, Virginia Latina Activist and former campaign staffer – “As a Latina, a Virginian, and a constituent of the 49th District, I am proud of the work Alfonso has done to represent Latinos in the in Richmond and across the Commonwealth. He is a passionate and tireless leader that I trust to represent my views and advocate for policies that promote the advancement of the Latino community. Alfonso has stood with – and for – us on challenging issues and in challenging times when our immigrant families and DREAMers have needed compassionate leaders. And beyond that, he’s been integral to the building of the Latino leadership we are seeing flourish in Virginia today. That said, I’m deeply concerned to see the policy frustrations of some undermine the very leaders we know champion our causes. This not only threatens the representation we have worked hard to establish but it creates fractures in the fabric of our community and that is simply not acceptable.”
The Honorable Emma Violand Sanchez, former Chair of the Arlington School Board – “I have been working with Alfonso and his parents and his family for years on behalf of DREAMer students in Virginia. He has been our champion ever since he was elected to the House of Delegates and before. The DREAM Act was the first bill he introduced in the House and he worked closely with the Attorney General to make sure that in-state tuition became a reality for our students four years ago. He will keep being our strong advocate – he always has been.”
Andres Tobar, Executive Director of the Shirlington Employment and Education Center (SEEC) – “I’ve worked with Alfonso for years through SEEC and through countless campaigns and efforts for Latinos and New Americans in Virginia. His work on the SEEC Board – the first day laborer center in the region – years ago was important – and his work in the legislature to address Notario fraud has been invaluable. Alfonso is a leader for our community and I’m proud to call him a friend.”
Zuraya Tapia, SEEC Board Chair and Arlington Activist – “As my delegate, Alfonso has always been a trusted voice for our community. He has been a tireless champion for diversity, inclusiveness, and a more welcoming Virginia. I know that he cares deeply about those values and will continue to push for them in the House of Delegates. I’m proud to have him representing our community.”
Leopoldo Martinez, long time Virginia business and civic leader – “Time and again, Alfonso Lopez has demonstrated through his voting record, legislative agenda, floor speeches, and behind the scenes work with the Attorney General and the Governor’s office that he is a strong advocate of the Latino and immigrant communities in our Commonwealth. Alfonso deserves our strong support for his work in the House of Delegates.”
David Toscano, Minority Leader of the House Democratic Caucus – “I share folk’s concerns about immigration and the importance of inclusion. We Democrats have been fighting these battles for years. At the forefront of this fight in the House of Delegates has been Alfonso Lopez. He has never shied away from resisting the narrative portraying New Americans in a negative light. He has consistently fought for “dreamers”. He has always been there. I know how Alfonso fights and he has been fighting for a more inclusive society since he arrived in Richmond.”