Community Groups Interrupt Virginia Democrats Election Night Watch Parties

FAIRFAX, Virginia – Members of, La ColectiVA and Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Northern Virginia, interrupted two local election night watch parties Tuesday night.

Members of the groups interrupted Ralph Northam’s victory speech tonight at the Virginia Democrats’ election night watch party. During the campaign, Northam repeatedly pointed to his voting record as lieutenant governor to prove his support of the migrant community. Yet, six days before the election, Northam said he would sign a bill to ban any Virginia locality from becoming a sanctuary jurisdiction in the future. He has also tried to prove his support in the Latinx community through the endorsement he has from the highest ranking Latinx politician in Virginia, Delegate Alfonso Lopez.

Voicing their disapproval of Northam’s call to ban sanctuary cities in Virginia, the groups chanted:

“Virginia wants sanctuary for all, Black and Brown people are not for political gain, the Democrats must prove themselves!” Then chanted “What side are you on, my people? What side are you on? We’re on the freedom side!”

The groups also interrupted Delegate Alfonso Lopez (49 – Arlington) during his election night party in Arlington at the Salsa Room. Earlier this week, La ColectiVA uncovered Lopez’s financial ties to Immigration Centers of America (ICA), the private prison company that operates ICA-Farmville, the largest immigration detention center in Virginia and the mid-Atlantic. The group continues to call for Lopez to cut all ties to the company and pay reparations to the migrant community.

At Lopez’s event, members of La ColectiVA called out:

“Stop profiting off our families, cut all ties with ICA!”

A member of La ColectiVA said: “Throughout the election, La ColectiVA has tried to get Northam’s position on collaboration between local law enforcement and ICE, because one of the central principles of a truly sanctuary jurisdiction is the end of such collaboration. Ending this collaboration begins to protect migrants from forced displacement and human rights abuses committed through raids, immigration detention, and deportation.

On multiple occasions, we asked him for his stance on 287(g) agreements, which are formal partnerships between local law enforcement and ICE, like in Prince William County. During an immigration round table in the summer, Northam finally said that ‘287(g) has no place in Virginia’. Northam’s position on banning sanctuary cities directly contradicts his stance on 287(g) and his supposed support of the migrant community. He has used Delegate Alfonso Lopez as a prop to show his support in the Latinx and migrant community. With Mr. Lopez’s ties to immigration detention centers, that endorsement carries very little weight.”

Another member of La ColectiVA continued:

“Tonight we interrupted Northam and Lopez to show that the migrant community and those that truly support their safety and well-being will not tolerate these and any politician’s deception. They cannot say they are our champions while at the same time call for a ban of all sanctuary cities in Virginia or receive money from the largest immigration detention center in Virginia.

Northam is now the governor of Virginia and our communities will not stand by if he continues to have such an aggressive stance against localities becoming sanctuary cities in Virginia. We will continue to come together to make sure that if Governor Northam is presented with legislation that would ban sanctuary cities, he does not sign this legislation which would put thousands of Virginians at heightened risk.”