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Monday, August 12, 2019

Fairfax County rejects facility for migrant children

Fairfax County has rejected the federal government’s proposal to lease space in the county for a shelter for unaccompanied migrant children.

The federal General Services Administration had posted a notice earlier this month seeking to lease a facility with up to 110,000 square feet to house up to 440 children in Northern Virginia, beginning next spring.

In an Aug. 12 letter to Matthew Baker, Region III director, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Fairfax County Supervisor Sharon Bulova said she is extremely concerned about the Trump Administration’s policy of separating children from their families when they cross the border into the United States.

“Fairfax County wants no part in this heartless practice,” Bulova wrote.

“The policy of discouraging border crossing by ripping innocent children from their families is counter to every value we hold dear in Fairfax County, the commonwealth of Virginia, and the United States of America,” Bulova stated. “We urge you in the name of decency and compassion to find other ways to address this crisis and keep families together.”

Noting that the federal government doesn’t indicate that it will provide education or other services for the detained children, the letter states, “Your agency has a duty to provide for these children and should bear any costs for doing so rather than imposing them on local and state taxpayers.” 

Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson also rejected the proposed center, stating “the federal government’s current treatment of immigrant families is in direct conflict with our community’s values.”


  1. Looking at web pages there is a term “Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC)” defined by US law “as a child who has no lawful immigration status in the United States; has not attained 18 years of age; and, with respect to whom, there is no parent or legal guardian in the United States, or no parent or legal guardian in the United States available to provide care and physical custody. See 6 U.S. Code § 279(g)(2).” Care of UAC is managed by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), an operational division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). “By law” it says, “HHS has custody and must provide care for each UAC.” And pages say “as of August 5, 2019, there are approximately 8,700 UAC in HHS care. At the end of June 2019, the system-wide length of care is 45 days, down from a recent high of 93 days in November 2018.”

    So looking at these facts, might Fairfax County be acting a bit heartless and “not in my backyard” by not even being willing to have say 440 of 8,700 unaccompanied children stay here for 45 or so days?

    1. Thank you for this research and information. This isn't about separating kids from parents, but taking care of kids who made it here with out parents. Putting a facility here gets them closer to family - so they can be visited and transitioned.

  2. "Not in my Back Yard"...

  3. The “Love Trumps Hate” crowd is full of hypocrisy.

  4. What a missed opportunity to do the right thing by disenfranchised kids. Agree or disagree with the politics, but let's not loose our humanity.

  5. If I'm not mistaken, Penny welcomed a number of these unaccompanied minors to Mason District a few years ago. Why the change of heart now?

    Perhaps, because this issue has become so polarizing that interim measures and possible solutions are viewed through the lens of party affiliation and electoral consequences.

    Regardless of what side you are on, the total politicization of an issue that affects peoples' lives is a very sad commentary on the type of country we have become.

  6. Good for Fairfax County! Is this a Trump Administration policy. They need to build facilities along the Southern Border to keep children/parents close. This is crazy. Actually, the facilities need to be built on the Mexican border.

    I refuse to call these unfortunate children migrants. They are Illegal Aliens...........and crossed border with their Illegal parents who probably paid the scalpers big bucks to get them to and across the border into the U.S. and receive the free stuff. Check out the immigration policy in Hungary and Poland........they have no illegal immigrants.

    Who’s idea was it to send these children North to VA?............why aren’t they staying in Texas (closer to their parents) or whatever state borders where they were picked up?

    I always ask............What about those Legal Immigrants that are patiently waiting in line......reading and understanding the U.S. Constitution, assimilating, getting an education and/or a job, learning English (we are NOT a bi-lingual countr!!y), as they prepare to raise their right hand and Pledge the Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of used to be a ten-year period. I wonder if it still is.