Immigrants in Fairfax County

Fairfax County is welcoming to all.

Fairfax County is welcoming to all who wish to live in, work in and enjoy our community, including our immigrant residents and neighbors. We believe in keeping families together and protecting those who are most vulnerable.
 
The Board of Supervisors passed the Trust Policy in 2021 to codify Fairfax County’s commitment to the safety and security of all immigrant residents. It contains specific standards to ensure that employees do not voluntarily cooperate with enforcement of federal civil immigration laws.

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About the Trust Policy

In 2021, the Board of Supervisors adopted the Public Trust and Confidentiality Policy (Trust Policy) to reaffirm current county policy and improve community health, welfare, safety, security and trust by ensuring that immigrant residents can access county benefits and services without fear that the information they share will be disclosed to federal immigration officials.

The Trust Policy makes that promise concrete by establishing mandatory countywide standards for information sharing and other protections for our immigrant neighbors. We will do everything we can to help people, protect them from association with ICE but, more importantly, help them get the services and the access to their county government they need.

All residents, including immigrants, have reason to be concerned about the privacy of data provided to the County in order to obtain services. The Trust Policy will further ensure that the County is not a source of personal information that those outside the County can exploit for their own purposes. It supplements existing Fairfax rules protecting the confidentiality of personal information by identifying the types of data protected, going beyond what is required by state law. It also restricts what information can be collected in the first place.

More County Policy Statements

HHS Social Safety Net Services

We can provide you and your family access to available supports and resources including food, rental assistance, utility assistance and other help. 

 

Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court (JDRDC)

The Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court adheres to the Code of Virginia  with respect to reporting violent felonies to the proper authorities. Virginia Code Section 16.1-309.1 (H) states “that an intake officer shall report to the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the United States Department of Homeland Security a juvenile who has been detained in a secure facility based on an allegation that the juvenile committed a violent felony and who the intake officer has probable cause to believe is in the United States illegally.” The intake officer will complete a violent offender form which assists in determining this status.

Police Department

The Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) investigates every crime reported to them and responds to every call for police assistance, regardless of a person's immigration status. They strive to serve, protect and provide police assistance to anyone in this county who needs it.  When the police arrest someone, they do not check immigration status.

The Police Department is not involved in targeted immigration enforcement operations with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Local and state law enforcement officers, including Fairfax County, do not have the authority to conduct immigration enforcement sweeps or stop anyone solely to inquire about their citizenship or immigration status.

Prior to any HSI activity, the investigators make every effort to notify the Police Department through the communications dispatch center. This is done for general awareness purposes and in the event they experience an unforeseen emergency that requires local law enforcement or emergency medical assistance.

General Order 601
  • This General Order is intended to identify and unify arrest procedures throughout the Department. When conducting an arrest, officers shall uphold all County and State codes.
  • Read General Order 601
General Order 604
  • The Fairfax County Police Department is committed to providing the highest level of service to all persons and treating all persons with dignity and respect. This commitment is designed to strengthen the trust provided from our community and increase the effectiveness of community policing. In keeping with the principles outlined through ONE Fairfax, members of the Department will provide equal services to all community members regardless of known or perceived race, sex, ethnicity, religious preferences, sexual orientation, immigration status, citizenship or national origin, except where otherwise required by state or federal law.

    The Fairfax County Police Department's mission is to fight and prevent crime and provide a culture of safety in the community which preserves the sanctity of all human life. As such, the Department will work with law enforcement entities to fulfill this mission. However, Fairfax County Police officers are not authorized to participate in or facilitate the enforcement of federal civil statutes (i.e. federal immigration laws). Officers shall only conduct a query of a person's information in a law enforcement database for criminal justice purposes, and only as prescribed by law and the regulations of the systems being queried.
  • Read General Order 604

 

Sheriff’s Office

The Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office is a public safety agency committed to ensuring the safety and security of the diverse communities it serves. The Sheriff's Office operates the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center (ADC) and complies with local, state and federal laws. All Sheriffs in Virginia are required by Code of Virginia § 19.2-83.2 and § 53.1-218 to determine the residency status of individuals arrested and brought to jail for a felony offense. During the booking process, fingerprints are automatically transmitted to a state database to which all local, state and national law enforcement agencies, including ICE, have access. 

The Sheriff’s Office does not book anyone into the Adult Detention Center nor hold inmates past their court ordered release date without a judicial warrant. Deputies do not participate in, nor provide assistance to, ICE activities out in the community.

The Sheriff’s Office worked with the ACLU People Power to create a written notice informing undocumented immigrants about the availability of free legal advice from the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition. Deputies distribute the printed notice to all inmates that have an ICE detainer. The notice is available in English, Spanish and Korean. Regardless of a person’s immigration status, the Sheriff’s Office ensures that every incarcerated person has telephone and in-person access to their attorney.

2017 Board of Supervisors Resolution

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to adopt the following resolution on April 4, 2017:

  • Whereas, Fairfax County is and will continue to be a County that exemplifies values of respect and acceptance;
  • Whereas, we welcome and celebrate one another’s differences and cultural backgrounds; Whereas, while immigration is a federal matter, Fairfax County does partner with federal authorities on serious criminal matters when required;
  • Whereas, we do not ask, nor do we have the resources for, our police officers to become immigration officials, nor for Fairfax County to assume the responsibilities of federal immigration officials;
  • Whereas, Fairfax County Police successfully engage in community policing, which requires the trust of residents who are not afraid to call law enforcement if their safety is at risk, or to report information that may help to solve a crime;
  • Whereas, it is the responsibility of our police officers to ensure the safety of Fairfax County residents through community policing rather than through immigration enforcement;
  • Whereas, Fairfax County Public Schools complies with the federally mandated requirements that we educate all children, regardless of immigration status;
  • Whereas, the School Board is committed to maintaining a safe, inclusive and welcoming learning environment for all children in our public school system and Fairfax County Public Schools values the richly diverse backgrounds of our students and families;
  • Whereas, Fairfax County’s diversity makes our community strong and vibrant, and we are proud of what every resident has to offer;
  • Therefore, be it resolved that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors does hereby affirm our strong commitment to maintaining a community culture that values and celebrates the similarities as well as the differences among our neighbors.

Former Chairman Sharon Bulova stated, “Fairfax County is a welcoming and accepting community where residents of all backgrounds deserve to feel respected and safe. It is important that we, as local leaders, speak out when our constituents are concerned regarding policies or practices that may affect them. We are a safe, diverse and caring community, and if that harmony is threatened, I believe we have a duty to speak out and clearly articulate our values.”

Resources for Immigrants

Legal Representation for Immigrants Pilot Program

On Jan. 22, 2019, the Board of Supervisors approved a board matter (agenda item 19, page 29) that called for:

  • A ‘Pilot Program’ that would cost $200,000 and provide legal representation for detained residents or residents at risk for detention, as well as providing legal rights education to County residents.
  • As part of the FY 2019 Third Quarter Review, the Board of Supervisors approved additional funding of $416,164, including $200,000 for a pilot program to provide legal representation for immigrants.
  • For more information, please contact CASA at 866-765-CASA (2272) or visit www.wearecasa.org.

Information about ICE

The county has received several inquiries about federal changes in policies or procedures regarding immigrants. We’ve heard the concerns about the federal government and planned U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in our area.

Fairfax County does not and will not enforce civil federal immigration laws. The federal courts have determined that the enforcement of civil immigration laws is solely a federal responsibility under the exclusive authority of ICE.

The Board of Supervisors has not designated Fairfax County as a sanctuary county; it complies to the fullest extent required by federal, state or local law with any law enforcement agency requesting criminal law enforcement assistance. The Board of Supervisors' Trust Policy and Police General Orders found above establish the county’s practice for civil matters.

Fairfax County seeks to protect the federal and state constitutional rights of all persons, including immigrants.

Landlord-Tenant Issues

Legal Aid Justice Center provides legal advice and representation to immigrant tenants facing landlord-tenant problems such as unpaid rent, eviction, unlivable housing conditions, landlord harassment, lockouts or utility shutoffs, and debt collection by current or former landlords. Attorneys speak English and Spanish, and all other languages are available through Language Line. Please call 703-778-3450 and leave a message, which will be returned within one business day.


Legal Aid Justice Center brinda asesoramiento y representación legal a inquilinos inmigrantes que tienen problemas con su arrendador, como alquiler no pagado, desalojo, condiciones inhabitables de la vivienda, hostigamiento por parte del arrendador, bloqueo del acceso a la vivienda o desconexión de servicios públicos, y el cobro de deudas por arrendadores actuales o anteriores. Nuestros abogados hablan inglés y español, y hay otros idiomas disponibles a través de Language Line. Por favor llame al 703-778-3450 y deje un mensaje. Le devolveremos la llamada dentro de un día laborable.

Additional Information

The Public Charge Rule

Public Charge Update - March 2021

As of March 9, 2021, the 2019 public charge rule is no longer in effect. As a result, receiving public assistance like Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), or federally-subsidized housing no longer impacts an immigrant’s application for Lawful Permanent Resident (green card) status. In addition, factors such as an immigrant’s medical history, age, income and assets, education level, family size, and English proficiency are no longer factors. Immigration officials will now apply the 1999 public charge field guidance, which only considers income-maintenance benefits, including SSI, TANF, and state/local cash assistance programs, as well as institutionalization for long-term care funded by the federal government.

Public Charge FAQs

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