FAIRFAX, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - Fairfax County has approved a budget item that will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to help illegal immigrants fight deportation by the federal government.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the pilot program to be included in its budget, which will come at a cost of $200,000 for taxpayers.
The fund will help illegal immigrants facing deportation receive counsel from immigration legal experts.
The controversial program has been met with mixed responses, with some questioning the use of taxpayer money to fund legal expenses for people who have broken immigration laws, while others argue the county will end up paying more to support the families of people who have been deported.
"These are folks that are paying taxes in the county. These are folks who are breadwinners," Jose Magana Salgado with CASA Virginia said.
"People are very much in need who have difficulty with the language, have difficulty with a lot of different things and deserve to be here in America but don't have the ability to present their own legal defense," Democratic Supervisor of Fairfax County John Foust stated.
Republican Supervisor of Fairfax County Pat Herrity believes the county has no business using tax dollars to support people who've broken the law by entering the U.S. illegally.
"We've got a lot of people in need in Fairfax County. We've got veterans, facing evictions hearings. It just doesn't make any sense to me," Herrity told FOX 5.
U.S. Immigration and Customs sent FOX 5 the following response: "Individuals in ICE custody already have access to courts, counsel and comprehensive legal materials."
Immigration advocates said they hope to have Fairfax County's program running by July 1.