Resolution Supporting Arlington’s Newcomers
WHEREAS, in Arlington, we believe in a community where people trust their government and each other; a community that welcomes and values all of its residents, treating them with human dignity and respect, regardless of immigration status; and
WHEREAS, Arlington has and will continue to comply with all federal and state laws related to immigration, including those that involve employment and eligibility for state and federal programs; and
WHEREAS, it is not the role of state or local governments to assume federal responsibilities to enforce complex immigration laws any more than it is a local government responsibility to enforce federal tax laws, patent laws, interstate commerce regulations, international trade rules, or a host of other federal rules and regulations that can lead to civil or criminal sanctions; and
WHEREAS, there is a political effort to pressure local governments to enact punitive measures that would be counterproductive to the fulfillment of the fundamental missions of local government; and
WHEREAS, this effort has been attended by increasingly irresponsible rhetoric that may imply lack of respect for all immigrants and engenders an atmosphere of divisiveness and mistrust that is unhealthy for our society, and especially harmful for a diverse community like Arlington; and
WHEREAS, creating a culture of fear and distrust of law enforcement makes a community less safe; denying educational opportunities to students who may continue living in this country makes a community less safe; denying basic services such as well baby care, immunizations, and treatment of communicable diseases makes a community less safe; and
WHEREAS, Arlington seeks to have a safe and unified community,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Arlington County rejects policies and practices that promote discrimination, hostility, abuse, exploitation, and fear of government; and
Be it Further Resolved that Arlington reaffirms its commitment to be a welcoming community that recognizes the contributions of all of its members, in all of their diversity; and
Be it Further Resolved that the Arlington County Board supports the County Manager’s implementation of County services in a manner that is inclusive, including the provision of written material in different languages as appropriate, the use of interpreters at public meetings, community policing that provides equal protection to all, and a proactive outreach to and celebration of the many cultures that reside in Arlington; and
Be it Further Resolved that the Arlington County Board calls upon federal and state officials to enact policies that promote the integration of immigrants into society in a way that provides procedures for employment and access to services for which they are eligible.
Be it Further Resolved that the Arlington County Board calls on the Federal government to recognize that the process for achieving U.S. legal residency and citizenship is chronically backlogged and the number of available visas is in critical short supply such that there are delays lasting years, leaving residents in an “immigration limbo.” We call on the federal government to provide resources to ensure an effective and timely processing of those eligible for legal permanent residency or naturalization; and
Be it Further Resolved that Arlington County expresses its appreciation to all people from around the country and around the world who have made Arlington their home and in so doing have helped to make Arlington one of the most vibrant and successful communities in the United States.