F.C. Leaders Speak Out Against President’s DACA Repeal Plan

The March to Confront White Supremacy, an 118-mile, 10-day march organized in response to the violence in Charlottesville last month, traveled through Falls Church Wednesday morning. In addition to equality and anti-white supremacy signs, many of the participants also carried messages supportive of DACA and critical of the Trump administration’s decision this week to end the program. (Photo: Matt Delaney/News-Press)

There was no shortage of loud and powerful voices speaking out at Falls Church Labor Day events and afterward against President Trump’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that has permitted children of immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally to avoid deportation. The Falls Church area has seen a strong Latino population growth in recent years that includes almost all of the youths protected under the DACA program.

U.S. Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr., the Falls Church businessman whose 8th District represents the City, spoke at two Labor Day events here, one hosted by the F.C. Democratic Committee at Cherry Hill Park and the other hosted by Nancy Scott, wife of the late Del. Jim Scott, at an annual backyard barbecue and the first since the passing of Scott. That event was officially in support the reelection of F.C. Del. Marcus Simon, but included Beyer, U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez, and a large contingent of regional Democratic elected officials.

Falls Church City Schools Superintendent Peter Noonan issued a strong pro-DACA statement Wednesday, and a large contingent of participants in a 10-day, 118 mile “March to Confront White Supremacy” from Charlottesville to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. marched on Route 29 through Falls Church carrying signs opposing the president’s action on DACA.

Everybody’s attention at these events was focused on DACA, as well as winning in this November’s election which in Virginia will include races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, and all state delegate seats.

Beyer noted that it will take 21 Republican votes in the U.S. House to, along with Democratic votes, reverse the president’s decision by making DACA the law of the land (instead of a presidential order, as President Obama initiated it).

With the beginning of the Falls Church City Public Schools’ year on Tuesday, Superintendent Peter Noonan wasted no time weighing in on the DACA issue himself, with a strong public statement issued to the entire Falls Church school community Wednesday.

He wrote, “The decision to end the DACA program could damage the diversity and vibrancy of our school community and undermine what makes us a great school system.

“Although our DACA students may have been brought to the U.S. illegally, they have taken all the required steps to demonstrate that they intend to become contributing citizens. Consequently, FCCPS’ DACA students have undergone extensive background checks. They have worked hard in our schools and are succeeding in their studies. Because of their principled and diligent approach to learning, our DACA students are models of what hard work means in the context of success.”

Noonan added, “Legally, we are not allowed to ask the immigration status of our new enrollees to FCCPS so we are unaware of exactly who our DACA students are, but assume we have many. However, all of our students are integral to the success of FCCPS and we strive to ensure that all means all when it comes to student outcomes.”

On Labor Day, speaking on the importance of winning the gubernatorial and state delegate races, Del. Simon noted that current Gov. Terry McAuliffe used his veto pen 120 times to fend off radical gun and anti-woman legislation.

Unlike the rest of the country (except for New Jersey), Virginians can do something about the angst they’re feeling about what’s going on in Washington, Simon said. “We need to run up the score in Falls Church to help our chances statewide,” he added.

Beyer said the Democrats could take control of the U.S. House in 2018 and force the release of Trump’s tax returns that, he quipped, “We could publish in the Falls Church News-Press.”

Perez said the Democratic National Committee is “all in on Virginia.” He added, “This is about our values and identity as a nation. History will record the comeback began in Virginia.”

He cited the Martin Luther King quote that the “long arc of history bends toward justice,” adding, “But it never bends on its own.”