Board of Supervisors may act on resolution tonight; opponents seeking delay of vote

Prince William County, VA - The Prince William County Human Rights Commission has released a report highly critical of an anti-immigrant resolution passed by the County’s Board of Supervisors in July. The Commission’s report, which was sent to the Board of Supervisors last week, was prepared after the Commission received written statements or took oral testimony from a variety of human rights advocates, including the ACLU of Virginia.

“Unlike the Board of Supervisors, the Human Rights Commission actually listened to what experts and minority groups had to say,” said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis. “The Commission concluded that the resolution undermines relations with the Latino community, that it will be impossible to implement in a non-discriminatory way, that it will not be effective, and that it will likely plunge the County into a lengthy and expensive legal battle.”

Resolution #07-609 requires police to inquire about the immigration status of any person they detain if there is probable cause to believe the person is in violation of federal immigration law. It also permits county personnel to check a person's immigration status to determine eligibility for federal, state, or local benefits. The chief of police, who criticized the resolution prior to passage, later submitted a proposal for implementation with a $14 million price tag.

The Prince William Board of Supervisors is scheduled to meet tonight. It could vote on proposals to implement the resolution or delay action pending further study.

Quotes from the Human Right Commission report follow:

The fall-out from the immigration ordinance debate has had a detrimental effect on legal immigrants and native-born Americans alike and has created a climate of fear and mistrust. (p. 8)
The Human Rights Commission has concluded that it will be virtually impossible to implement this legislation in a non-discriminatory manner unless every resident of Prince William County is required to prove his or her legal residency at all county service points… (p. 9)
…[T]his legislation will be challenged legally, opening the county to protracted court battles and mounting costs, all at taxpayer expense. (p. 10)
Implementation of this ordinance will do little or nothing to relieve the longer term, underlying problems of assimilation. (p. 11)

Click here for a copy of the ACLU’s letter to the Prince William County Human Rights Commission.  The Commission’s report can be found on the County government’s website at http://www.pwcgov.org/docLibrary/PDF/006963.pdf

Contact: Kent Willis, (office) 804/644-8022

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