Virginia’s Largest School District Adopts Sanctuary Policy
FAIR Take | May 2022
The Fairfax County School Board unanimously adopted a so-called “Trust Policy” on April 28. Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is the largest school district in Virginia and one of the largest in the country, with an estimated more than 180,000 students enrolled in 198 schools for the 2020 school year. The school district is also one of the largest employers in the Commonwealth, with nearly 25,000 full-time employees.
The more egregious provisions of the “FCPS Trust Policy” include:
- Prohibiting FCPS employees from asking for or recording any information regarding an individual’s citizenship or immigration status, or “personally identifying information;”
- Prohibiting FCPS employees from disclosing information regarding an individual’s citizenship or immigration status “unless the action is (a) required by valid state or federal law or regulation, judicial warrant, court order or subpoena, or (b) has been authorized by the individual or guardian;”
- Forbidding compliance with immigration detainers, administrative warrants, orders of removal, and other similar federal immigration enforcement documents;
- Banning FCPS police, including school resource officers (“SROs”) from facilitating immigration enforcement or participating in any request for assistance;
- Allowing individuals to provide schools with foreign identification documents, including expired documents and requiring that these documents not be treated any differently than a state driver’s license or ID card;
- Denying immigration authorities access to FCPS facilities, grounds, and property without a criminal judicial warrant;
- Requiring attorneys in FCPS’s Office of Division Counsel to approve all requests by immigration officials; and
- Requiring FCPS employees be disciplined for violating the “Trust Policy”.
The FCPS “Trust Policy” is one more policy that Fairfax County has implemented to shield illegal aliens. In 2021, the Board of Supervisors adopted similar policies for other county agencies, including the Fairfax County Police Department. Additionally, Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid (D) has not honored immigration detainers for inmates in the county jail since May 2018. Moreover, she has recently decided that her office will no longer even notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prior to releasing an individual from custody with an ICE detainer. Finally, Fairfax County Commonwealth Attorney (CA) Steve Descano (D) has implemented policies since 2020 that minimize the criminal consequences for illegal aliens committing crimes as well as protect them from immigration enforcement.
The policies implemented by Fairfax County could undone by passing legislation at the state level. Virginia is a “Dillon Rule” state which means local governments do not have home rule and their powers are limited to those granted by the legislature. State anti-sanctuary legislation would immediately negate the dangerous policies implemented by Fairfax County.