The modification of the “Probable Cause” portion of the Immigration Resolution is good for Prince William County. A unanimous vote last night by the Board of Supervisors means that law enforcement here is no longer fundamentally unfair.
PWC Police Officers will no longer be required to check documentation status for minor traffic stops. Therefore equal protection under the law has been restored to citizens and legal residents who fit “probable cause” indicators such as language proficiency.
Police Officers are no longer in needless danger of being accused of racial profiling. Like most other counties in the United States, we will again check legal status only after arrest. Furthermore, legal status will be questioned for ANYONE who is arrested, thus dispelling the appearance of prejudice.
It is a great relief not to have to worry about a nightmare scenario where one of Prince William County’s Finest finds him or herself dragged into court, forced to explain that, “It wasn’t because of her skin color that I arrested a legal citizen who forgot her drivers’ license, it was the way she pronounced the letter ‘L.'”
High praise for Frank Principi and Martin Nohe for working together to outmaneuver Corey Stewart and John Stirrup. High praise for John Jenkins for bringing to bear on this contentious debate his years of experience working out the details of budgets and negotiations in the best interest of the county. High praise for Maureen Caddigan and Mike May. I’m sure it took long hours of soul-searching and ultimately, personal courage for these moderate Republicans to go against their conservative colleagues, Stewart and Stirrup. This progress would not have been possible without moderate Republicans and Democrats working across party lines for the common good. Thank goodness Wally Covington came around to join the moderates and abandon extreme partisan ideology. I will sleep tonight knowing that Corey Stewart and John Stirrup’s last stand has ended.
Thank you to everyone who spoke out on this issue, whether for or against the Resolution, whether for or against the change that was made tonight. I actually had some friendly conversations with people who supported the Resolution. Overall, the mood was much more civil, even neighborly, than the spectacle in October. I saw glimmers of the community that we once were before we became so divided. I get the feeling that many people, including some HSM members, would like to stop fighting and move on.
Some questions remain.
1) Will this change be enough to help Prince William County avert economic consequences of the Immigration Resolution that have already begun to set in?
2) Will immigrant communities, both documented and undocumented, and the net economic benefit they bring with them return to our county?
3) Will the reputation of Prince William County be restored, allowing us to successfully compete with other counties in the DC Metro area for new businesses and new investment?
Only time will tell. But this is an encouraging and significant step.