Fairfax set to stop funding group advising illegal immigrants


Fairfax set to stop funding group advising illegal immigrants

By: Brian Hughes
Examiner Staff Writer
April 26, 2010

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/Fairfax-set-to-stop-funding-group-advising-illegal-immigrants-91946554.html#ixzz0mDea3nVt

Fairfax County appears likely to stop funding an immigration group that gave out advice for dealing with federal raids, according to recommendations released by county officials.

Progreso Hispano, an Alexandria nonprofit group, received $100,000 from the county this year — while distributing guides to "undocumented workers" in case of future arrest — the Washington Examiner reported earlier this month.

However, the group was not included in a list released in recent days of more than 100 community service organizations expected to share nearly $11 million in county money next budget year.

Fairfax officials would not say whether the illegal-immigration advice had anything to do with the decision.

"I’m not going to answer that question," said Merni Fitzgerald, a spokeswoman for the county.

Multiple members of the committee making the suggestions declined to comment on funding for Progreso.

"They make recommendations to the Board [of Supervisors]," Fitzgerald said. "They don’t answer to anyone else."

County supervisors will approve the money for the human service and housing development organizations Tuesday. They can add or remove groups from the funding pool if they so choose but generally approve the suggestions.

Progreso has since removed the information from its Web site, and the group’s leadership said it was surprised about not receiving more money.

"I don’t have any information," said Executive Director Cristina Schoendorf. "I haven’t heard anything."

Among the advice Progreso offered: Don’t provide government officials with information about immigration status, form a pact with co-workers to stay quiet during raids, and role-play federal agents in case of legal troubles.

The group primarily offers English-speaking and citizenship classes, Schoendorf said, adding illegal immigration was rarely discussed with clients.

Progreso — and multiple county supervisors — have said the guide should not prevent the organization from receiving county money in the future.

But at least one county leader cheered Progreso’s exclusion from the list.

"I don’t think we should be giving money to organizations that instruct people how to break the law," said Supervisor Pat Herrity, R-Springfield.

bhughes

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/Fairfax-set-to-stop-funding-group-advising-illegal-immigrants-91946554.html#ixzz0mDeOgjtu

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