INTERVIEW – Supervisor PAT HERRITY for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (R-Springfield)
- TOPIC: Fairfax County is considering creating a taxpayer-funded legal defense fund for immigrants caught in deportation proceedings. (Washington Post) — Fairfax County is considering creating a taxpayer-funded legal defense fund for immigrants caught in deportation proceedings, part of a growing effort by local governments to counter the Trump administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants. At a county Board of Supervisors budget hearing Wednesday, advocates argued that a proposed $200,000 pilot program aimed at assisting low-income immigrants — both undocumented and those in the country legally — would send a strong message that Virginia’s most populous jurisdiction doesn’t agree with the spike in immigration arrests that has spread fear in local communities. “Fairfax has an opportunity to be a regional leader in ensuring that its immigrant residents have access to due process in our nation’s immigration courts,” Jose Magaña-Salgado, an immigration consultant with the Masa Group, told the supervisors. He said that as a beneficiary of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which the White House is trying to eliminate, “I am acutely aware of the need for legal representation for vulnerable immigrants.” The legal aid program, which also would educate eligible immigrants about their rights, “will help some,” said Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville), who co-sponsored a motion to create the fund with Supervisor Jeffrey C. McKay (D-Lee). “But it’s not the be-all, end-all, because it’s not a lot of money, given the need.” Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency in charge of removal proceedings, does not keep statistics based on local jurisdictions. But data compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University found that about 12,000 Fairfax County residents were in deportation proceedings late last year. About a third of the county’s 1.1 million residents are immigrants.