Arlington and Secure Communities Program

  • Secure Communities reporting applies only to those who are arrested.
  • Arlington County complies with all requirements of local law enforcement agencies under federal and state laws related to immigration. However, the role of Arlington County law enforcement is to keep our community safe, not to enforce federal immigration laws.
  • Arlington remains committed to being a diverse and inclusive community that values and respects all residents.


  • On Mar. 1, 2011, the assistant director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sent a letter to Arlington County, explaining that Arlington is not able to opt out of the Secure Communities program. (En Español)
  • On Nov. 5, 2010, the Arlington County Manager, Police Chief and Sheriff met with officials from ICE. Read the memo from the County Manager to the County Board, reporting on the meeting (en Español)
  • On Oct. 7, 2010, the Arlington County Manager sent a letter to the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requesting information regarding Arlington’s inclusion in their Secure Communities initiative.
  • On Sept. 28, 2010, the Arlington County Board adopted a resolution reaffirming its support for immigrants and expressing its desire to withdraw from the Secure Communities Initiative.

Secure Communities is a Federal Initiative

  • The Secure Communities Program is a federal initiative to identify and remove deportable individuals from the United States.
  • Arlington has not signed any agreement to participate in the Secure Communities program.
  • With limited exceptions, all individuals arrested and booked are required by Virginia law to submit fingerprints for identification and classification.
  • Arlington also is required to submit these fingerprints to the Virginia State Police (VSP) so they can be checked against the state criminal records database.
    • Under the Secure Communities program, all fingerprints are now checked against both the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) national criminal database and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) immigration database.
  • As of March 2011, all jurisdictions in Virginia and 1,074 jurisdictions in 39 states are covered under this program.
  • DHS is under a Congressional mandate to check all collected fingerprints collected by every jurisdiction in the nation against the immigration database by 2013.
  • For more information, visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website.

Secure Communities is NOT…

  • … an Arlington program, and there have been no changes to Arlington County law enforcement policies or procedures.
  • …  like the Arizona law (SB1070) where local law enforcement officers are mandated to determine the immigration status of individuals encountered during lawful stops or other routine police activity.
  • … like the 287(g) program in which local law enforcement officers are deputized as immigration enforcement officers.

Law Enforcement Policies and Procedures

Arlington County …

  • Has not changed its law enforcement policy or procedures as a result of the Secure Communities Program.
  • Complies with all federal and state laws related to immigration. It is not the role of Arlington County law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws.
  • Has not and does not perform immigration status checks on our residents or visitors.
  • Has not and will not arrest individuals to determine their immigration status.
    • A person’s right to file a police report, participate in police-community activities or benefit from police services is not dependent on citizenship or immigration status.
  • Will not request passports, visas, “green cards,” or travel documents instead of, or in addition to, driver’s licenses and similar standard forms of identification.
  • “Nothing has changed in the way we interact with our immigrant residents,” said Arlington Police Chief Douglas Scott. “The Secure Communities program only affects people who have been arrested and booked into our Detention Center. We want to make sure that all people — regardless of their country of origin — continue to report crimes and do not fear interacting with Arlington County police officers.”

Arlington Remains a Welcoming Community

  • Arlington remains a community that welcomes and values all residents, regardless of immigration status.
  • Arlington is committed to providing for the safety, health, and welfare of our community.
  • Arlington believes creating a culture of fear and distrust of law enforcement makes a community less safe.
    • The Arlington Police will continue to work with residents, civic associations and others to maintain strong relationships vital to public safety.
  • The Secure Communities Program does not impact County services and benefits provided to our residents.
    • Participation in community events and programs offered in our schools, community centers, libraries and across the County do not involve the Secure Communities Program.

For more information, email Brian Stout.