Editorial by Lisa Johnson-Firth, Esq.
In light of Mr. Stewart’s recent actions to solicit support from the public for his “rule of law” resolution, I would like to encourage the board to be vigilant about getting the facts concerning immigrants in Prince William County. For instance, there has not been a decrease in serious crime because most of the immigrants detained were picked up for minor traffic violations.
It does not take a two-year study to see that the resolution has already had a drastically negative impact on the county and the rule of law under the Constitution. We now have ghost neighborhoods, school and ESL classes down in attendance, increased community fear and home foreclosures, 40 to 80 percent business drop-offs for some business owners, increased hate-speech rhetoric, police due process violations, anecdotal evidence of profiling and the building of negative perceptions.
There are also new family issues to grapple with.
For those of us raising children, it becomes challenging to teach the concept of “love your neighbor as yourself” when the next door neighbor is being deported or is fearfully fleeing.
Even at this early stage, it should be evident to the board that the resolution was ill-guided and must be rescinded or, at the least, suspended, while the board conducts hearings and solicits expert testimony and studies. An easy solution would be to recognize current federal and state laws supporting immigration enforcement, including the recent 287(g) agreements between ICE and the Prince William County police and sheriff’s office, and the Prince William-Manassas Adult Detention Center.