Stand-off in Prince William County, VA

I saw this story on Fox and Friends.  Read about the reaction Prince William County in VA is getting to their crackdown on illegal immigrants:

MANASSAS, Va. – In Manassas’s quaint, red-brick Old Town neighborhood, a giant billboard greets visiting tourists and commuters, but it was not put there by the city or Chamber of Commerce.

“PWC and Manassas the National Capital of Intolerance,” it declares, in hand-painted, none-too-subtle red and blue block lettering. The sign, 40 feet long and 12 feet high, sits on the property of Gaudencio Fernandez, 47, a contractor who immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 1979.

What follows is a rambling indictment of Prince William County and Manassas, likening efforts to target illegal immigrants in the jurisdictions with slavery, Jim Crow laws and the Ku Klux Klan. “We demand equality and justice for all,” Fernandez’s broadside concludes. “We will not be your slaves of the 21st century.”

Since it first appeared last fall, the billboard, called “The Liberty Wall” by Fernandez’s supporters because of its address at 9500 Liberty St., has become a political symbol and a rallying point for those who see it as a truth-to-power act of defiance. The sign’s text has changed a few times, but its message has essentially remained the same: Latino immigrants have been exploited by ungrateful, racist white residents who took advantage of their labor and now want them to leave.

WJLA has video posted of the sign here.

County Board Chair Corey Stewart (R) says that as a result of Prince William County’s crackdown on illegal immigrants, crime has gone down nearly 20%.   The figures for that are for the years 2006-2007 and the illegal immigration enforcement policies didn’t take effect until this year, but according to Stewart,  illegals began to leave  as soon as the county announced the policy.

The County is using ICE’s 287(g) section of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act:

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA), effective September 30, 1996, added Section 287(g), performance of immigration officer functions by state officers and employees, to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  This authorizes the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies, permitting designated officers to perform immigration law enforcement functions, pursuant to a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), provided that the local law enforcement officers receive appropriate training and function under the supervision of sworn U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers.

The cross-designation between ICE and state and local patrol officers, detectives, investigators and correctional officers working in conjunction with ICE allows these local and state officers:  necessary resources and latitude to pursue investigations relating to violent crimes, human smuggling, gang/organized crime activity, sexual-related offenses, narcotics smuggling and money laundering; and increased resources and support in more remote geographical locations.


It’s awesome to see local authorities (scroll) utilize the tools at their disposal to crack down on illegals, even as Congress continues to drop the ball on the issue of comprehensive immigration reform.

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