"The resolution is clearly working," said Corey A. Stewart (R-At Large), chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.
"It is driving down the non-English-speaking portion of the schools and
saving us millions of dollars. They’re going to other jurisdictions and
costing them money."
From N.Va. Hit with Cost of School Migration: Pr. William Policies Drive Immigrants to Inner Suburbs, in today’s Washington Post
Chairman Stewart has been leading the charge against illegal immigrants in Prince William County, claiming that their presence adds to the cost of county services, reduces property value, and leads to increased crime. Under new the resolution, during routine traffic stops or investigations police officers now check the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally.
(Since I am white and middle class, I doubt my immigration status would be checked during a traffic stop. My dark-skin, dark-hair Ecuadorian neighbors, on the other hand, would be the target of such a check. Can we say "racial profiling"?)
Yet Chairman Stewart’s language in the above quote is telling. "The resolution is clearly working . . . it is driving down the non-English-speaking [population]." Note that he did not boast that the resolution is driving down the illegal immigrant population, or that crime is down due to enforcement of the new resolution. No. He is clearly pleased that the "non-English-speaking" population has left his county.
Of course, many of those non-English speakers are US citizens – children born in this country to immigrants (legal or illegal), and legal resident or citizen Latino families who find the cultural climate in Prince William County to be unwelcoming. But Chairman Stewart is not concerned about driving tax-paying immigrants and citizens from his county. No, his goal is to "drive down the non-English-speaking" population – no matter their legal status.
Can’t we call this what it is – racism? How does this guy get off saying such things while remaining in public office?
I would love to see – and be part of – a mass civil disobedience demonstration in Prince William County in which a culturally diverse crowd of hundreds of people block intersections or access to the county government building and, upon arrest, all demand that their immigration status is checked. Flood their systems. Throw their racism right back at them.
In a nation of immigrants – where the freedoms of the Constitution, not the cultural hegemony of any one group, define our great nation – how can we do this?