“I’ll stand up for what matters to your family, because it’s my family’s fight too,” McElveen concludes.
Throughout his time on the School Board, Ryan has worked to ensure that Fairfax County Public Schools is a safe space for all students, regardless of their immigration status. Over the past year, he has expressed concern that school membership has declined, with hispanic students apparently leaving the county in greater numbers than students from other racial or ethnic groups.
“The bottom line is that Fairfax County must protect all its residents from law enforcement overreach,” McElveen adds. “This ordinance prepared by Fairfax for All is one way to advance the conversation about how to make sure all members of the community feel safe here.”
Ryan also views the ordinance as a way to build trust and cooperation between the police and the wider Fairfax community. Research shows that counties that refuse to honor ICE detainers have statistically lower crime rates and have less strained social and mental health assistance programs, because immigrant populations have less fear of being deported.
The full draft ordinance prepared by Fairfax for All is available here. Among its key points, the ordinance would:
- Limit ICE agents’ access to county facilities and require that ICE agents clearly identify themselves.
- Not allow law enforcement to arrest immigrants and bring them into custody when others would be released on a misdemeanor summons.
- Prohibit police officers from searching or requesting biometric data without cause.
- Protect confidential and sensitive information about community members.
- Require the release of data that allows the public to hold county law enforcement accountable to these policies.