Arlington to limit ICE interactions, end COVID-19 emergency declaration



One year after releasing details on its framework for interacting with immigrants living in the country without legal permission, Arlington County, Virginia, board members and County Manager Mark Schwartz passed a trust policy meant to limit interactions with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

One year after releasing details on its framework for interacting with immigrants living in the country without legal permission, Arlington County, Virginia, board members and County Manager Mark Schwartz passed a trust policy meant to limit interactions with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Arlington officials also announced the end of the county’s pandemic emergency declaration, during their board meeting on Tuesday.

The Arlington County Trust Policy was passed unanimously Tuesday, following community feedback and public comment sessions dating back to September 2021.

Under the new policy, county officials would consider the use of resources for the purposes of enforcing immigration policies inappropriate; restrict the ability of local police officers to share any “personally identifiable information that could be used to further immigration enforcement efforts;” and keep law enforcement from arresting, interviewing or investigating people just to determine if their immigration status.

Board Vice Chair Christian Dorsey described the policy as “progress” for the community, and conversations would be ongoing.

“This does not transform Arlington overnight, but I have come to appreciate and understand, based on the advocacy of many in our community, some of whom are in this room, that it’s a necessary step. A vital prerequisite,” Dorsey said.



The policy was taken up with the goal of also increasing the engagement of community members with county employees, local resources and government services.

This trust policy also requires reporting of violations to the Community Oversight Board with oversight from the county executive.

“I am particularly pleased to see the compliance and accountability part of the policy. For me, reporting on the policy — reporting on how we do, reporting on how we comply and asking our community to provide us with a continuous stream of feedback on that — is absolutely critical,” Board Member Takis P. Karantonis said.

The same meeting also marked an announcement from Mark Schwartz, ending the local emergency declaration on Aug. 15.

While Schwartz notes high levels of transmission across PCR tests and increased opportunities for vaccines among those 5 and older, “the need for those emergency authorities has dwindled.”

“The declaration has been an important tool offering the flexibility needed to better serve our residents, businesses and visitors,” Schwartz said. The declaration will end 885 days after it was implemented, Schwartz noted.

The declaration allowed for virtual and online work, appointments and inspections, along with virtual county meetings for the board and commission. It was put in place on March 13, 2020, as the region entered its first COVID-19 spike.

The decision does not immediately end the county’s temporary outdoor seating policies, which will stay in place through February 2023.



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