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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 06/25/2010

Corey Stewart wants Virginia to be Arizona

By Peter Galuszka

Once again playing the wedge politics of fear and discrimination, Corey A. Stewart is beating the drum for Virginia to adopt Arizona-style immigation laws.

The chairman of the Prince WIlliam County Board of Supervisors has been on Fox News pushing the Old Dominion to go statewide with the same anti-Hispanic laws that he pushed through in 2007. Stewart claimed on Fox News that Arizona's laws were modeled after the ones he won for his still-largely white and affluent suburb.

According to Stewart, the time is right for Virginia's General Assembly to require police to arrest people they think might be illegal immigrants, close day-labor centers and forbid roadside job solicitation, among other measures designed specifically to thwart Latinos looking for a day's work.

The upcoming General Assembly session in 2011 will be followed by elections later in the year, making 2011 an ideal time to make the Copper State law the template for Virginia, he says.

Curiously, Fox and Stewart pushed some facts about the 2007 law that seem, well, a bit funny. One contention was that the 2007 Prince William law has brought down violent crime in the county by 38 percent and that English-as-a-second-language classes in public schools have thankfully been brought down to about zero (as if that were a worthy goal in our increasingly globalized world).

But the advocacy group MediaMatters for America, citing Prince William County statistics, counters that after the county law was passed, violent crime actually increased 10.9 percent in 2009. Undocumented immigrants accounted for only a small percentage of any kind of crime. As far as I can tell, what the law has done is make hard-working Hispanics uncomfortable and encouraged them to flee to surrounding areas, where they confront less racism.

Another point: Prince WIlliam is not exactly teeming with rapes, robberies, murders, mayhem, drive-by shootings and gang warfare. A recent University of Wisconsin health study shows that Prince William had a violent crime rate (incidents per 100,000 population) of 206, based on data from 2005 through 2007. If you want to find violent crime in Virginia, look at Portsmouth (847 incidents per 100,000 population) or the city of Richmond (1,068).

Three decades ago, I was a police reporter in both cities and saw quite a bit of bloodletting of the inner-city, drug-related variety. Prince William may have some violent crime, but it is too much of a middle-class to upper-middle-class Washington bedroom community to have the kind of crime you find in the District or in Virginia metropolitan centers.

It is a shame that Virginia has to go down this road once again. Hard-working Hispanics will suffer merely because of the color of their skin while the Corey Stewarts of the world court votes from fringe elements and the mainstream by playing up fears of crime and falling property values.

The vast majority of those Stewart views as problem class are folks who just want to make a living and feed their families.They are willing to do jobs that many native-born Americans aren't willing to do. What's needed more than these discriminatory laws is national immigration reform that reflects economic realities and the true nature of labor demand.

Peter Galuszka blogs at Bacon's Rebellion . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Peter Galuszka  | June 25, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Va. Politics, Virginia, economy, education, health care, housing, public health, race, real estate, schools  
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Comments

peter, more and more states are going to adopt the Arizona model law. Which by the way, since your incapable of publishing the truth, AZ law mirrors the federal law. It is NOT a law against Hispanics.

The NY Times of all place has a great article defending the NYC police dept regarding their arresting practices. The minorities complain the the number of arrests discriminate against the black. The article goes on to note that the reason is due to the fact that most crimes are committed in the black communities. This fact is backed up with unbiased crime statistics.

The same holds true for the AZ law, those folks being stopped and questioned will be the ones mostly breaking the law.

But hey, don't let facts get in the way of your thinking and reporting the news. If they did your boss would allow you to join the ranks of the unemployed.

Posted by: frankn1 | June 26, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

The AZ law is an over-correction. The gov't should leave people alone unless they are clearly disobeying a law. People standing outside a 7-eleven aren't bothering anyone.

If someone does something bad enough to get arrested, then of course they should be checked, including immigration status. But using the police to hassle people who merely look like they could be illegal immigrants is a waste of valuable police time.

Posted by: dmarney | June 26, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

"If someone does something bad enough to get arrested, then of course they should be checked, including immigration status."

That's the AZ law. If you are minding your own business, you don't get stopped.

Also please remember that any illegal aliens who are working in the US are working illegally and in order to do that they either have to be working off the books and getting paid under the table tax-free or they are working with fraudulent or stolen identity papers. In the second case, there are a number of innocent victims who are being denied benefits they are due, having their credit records ruined, getting arrested, and having the IRS try to collect taxes they don't owe on salaries they never drew because these illegal aliens are using their SSNs or full identities.

It is disgraceful to see the MSM obsess over the possibility that somebody in AZ might be asked to produce proof of legal residence/citizenship when millions of citizens - including children - are having to prove that they are not the people who ran out on taxes and debts, drew unemployment or disability when they were working, etc.

Check out http://www.cis.org/IdentityTheft which is a backgrounder from the Center for Immigration Studies from a year ago and pay special attention to the section on the results of employment based identity theft on victims. Really take a look at the section regarding children. It's an eye-opener. You can be as careful as possible and your child's identity can be stolen.

No matter how sympathetic the MSM may portray them, these illegal aliens are wreaking havoc in millions of people's lives.

Posted by: dflinchum | June 26, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Do those that push for AZ-type laws ever explain how they will pay for it all? Or, how much it will tie-up the police to effectively respond to other crimes?

Posted by: jckdoors | July 2, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

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