Human Rights and Immigration
SECURING HUMAN RIGHTS AND IMMIGRATION
- Remain an inclusive and welcoming community for all people
- Strengthen our local commitment to civil and human rights and to a County workforce that reflects Arlington’s diversity
- Facilitate and coordinate effective approaches to local criminal justice issues
A Welcoming Arlington
As an American and an Arlingtonian, no holiday makes me prouder than the 4th of July, when I have the opportunity to participate in parades and neighborhood events across so many of Arlington’s diverse communities as we come together to celebrate our American independence. And no single event has stirred my soul more than when I attended a United States citizenship swearing-in ceremony hosted by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, where I witnessed over fifty individuals from some two dozen countries take the oath to become American citizens.
On January 17, 2017–days before the inauguration of the new President—the County Board spoke with one voice in reaffirming our commitment that Arlington County will remain an inclusive and welcoming community for immigrant populations. I endorse our longstanding policy that Arlington County law enforcement “has not and will not monitor, detain, interview, or investigate a person solely for the purpose of determining immigration status. A person’s right to file a police report, participate in police-community activities, or otherwise benefit from police services is not contingent upon citizenship or immigration status.” The fact is, we are a safer community as a result.
As a former attorney with the Nebraska Indian Commission and the Legal Services Corporation, I am committed to equal justice and supported the County Board’s funds allocation towards civil legal assistance for undocumented immigrants via a recognized non-profit, and joined my colleagues in aiding citizenship applicants through a new program providing in-kind support for low-income residents who have their citizenship applications funded through private donations.
Human Rights Commission
As County Board liaison to our Human Rights Commission, I continue to work closely with its leadership and senior staff to strengthen our local commitment to civil and human rights and to a County workforce that reflects Arlington’s diversity. I am working with the Commission’s new Equality Task Force on a major new initiative to ensure that Arlington receives a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign on key metrics of concern to the LGBTQ community, and secured the pledge of our County Attorney in May 2018 to ensure that our procurement laws are completely non-discriminatory in both word and practice.
Community Criminal Justice Board
Finally, I am proud to serve as the County Board Liaison to the Community Criminal Justice Board (CCJB), a state-mandated body designed to coordinate effective approaches to local criminal justice matters. I initiated a drive to revitalize this body by seeking to appoint both a victim and an ex-offender. Under my leadership, the CCJB has examined issues ranging from the “ban the box” movement (designed to help ex-offenders get their foot in the door for employment opportunities, which the County adopted several years ago) to exploring ways the community can support children with incarcerated parents.