All eyes are still on Prince William County as the residents of Arizona feel our pain at the Harkins Valley Art Theater near Phoenix.  The theater has been packed each night for screenings of 9500Liberty. Eric Byler has been in the Phoenix area for approximately a week now.  This afternoon he hosted a radio show with 3 Republican business people who disapprove of the law passed, SB 1070.

Many folks from Arizona now know all about 0ur county.  A write up in AZ newspaper Phoenix New Times revealed:

The film chronicles the heated battle over an Immigration Resolution (drafted by the same folks who brought us SB 1070), in Prince William County, Virginia that passed in 2008 and was quickly repealed because of devastating economic effects (read more about it here). 9500 Liberty captures both sides of the battle in Prince William County through numerous interviews and video clips, some of which provoked the audience at Harkins into both jeers and cheers.

For example, when a woman tells the Prince William County Board of District Supervisors that they must “Never forget 9/11 and who did that to us – illegals,” the audience at Harkins Valley Art let out a collective grumble. Minutes later, they roared in unified laughter when a man tells the Supervisors, “Don’t confuse the 9/11 with the 7-11.”
Naturally our own Alanna and Elena are  folk heroes and Eric is extremely busy.  That is what happens when you have directed a film on immigration and one of the biggest news events of the day suddenly becomes a highly controversial state law in Arizona rather than a resolution in a county in Virginia.
When asked by Lydia Aranda, a local Wells Fargo executive and a member of the Governor’s Latino Advisory Council,  what was the main lesson he’d  (Byler) learned in Prince William County that continues to be relevant  here  in the county, he responded:
“If [co-director] Annabel [Park] were here, I know what she’d say,” Byler replied. “The biggest lesson is that the immigrants in our community are already integrated into the economy, because the economy does not discriminate based on your national origin. A dollar is a dollar.”
Byler also denied that demonstrations and rallies were productive in our area.  He said that community leaders and business people spoke with supervisors individually and those private conversations are what ultimately lead to a softer approach.
It looks like a home boy it one out of the ball park with 95ooLiberty.
Full story at Phoenix New Times.

33 Thoughts to “All Eyes Still on Prince William County”

  1. Starryflights

    An excellent film and commentary. I’m glad that Arizona is drawing lessons from PWC’s experience, particularly that illegal immigrants have proven to be a net plus for our economy.

  2. Second-Alamo

    This is great news! This will galvanize an even greater percentage of the citizens of Arizona to support this law, as did the recent rallies. For one it should show that there was not one case of ‘profiling’ leveled against PWC, and so they have nothing to fear. Those folks live the problem every day, and so you think someone telling them there isn’t a problem will change their minds? No, it will insult and enrage them!

  3. Emma

    “9500 Liberty” is in the City of Manassas, not in Prince William County. If PWC residents are so damned racist and evil, I would ask Eric and Annabel to stop slandering the City of Manassas in this way. We weren’t involved in the Resolution.

    Those two are intentionally sloppy and inflammatory, and they will only galvanize AZ supporters, as SA says. And that’s a good thing.

  4. PWC Taxpayer

    Political correctness is the easy road to bad long term decisions. There is no such thing as illegal immigration — the word immigration is false. It is illegal trespass, illegal entry, fraud, criminal entry, a national security breach – but has nothing to do with immigration. Soft heartedness and soft headedness seem to go together and puts us all in very real danger. Folks are waking up to that fact and getting angrier and angrier not just at those who would abuse our system of laws and our borders but also those that facilitatie it. The vast majority of the people of PWC are proud of their supervisors and the leadership taken on solving the problems caused by illegal entry.

  5. PWC Taxpayer

    Other states are beginning to come on line – but do not want to take on the financial / budget experts who would have us pay for illegal health care but not pay for a secure border

    Lawmakers call for a $300 million grant program for border law enforcement officials for counties on the U.S.-Mexico border; counties will be able to apply for expedited grant funding to buy monitoring equipment, communications technologies, night view cameras, laptops, vehicles, drones and helicopters.

    Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) wants to take control of the border with Mexico by filling it with military technology like drones, radar and night-view cameras. Cornyn on Wednesday proposed the Southern Border Security Assistance Act, a $300 million grant program for border law enforcement officials.

    El Paso Times’s Diana Washington Valdez writes that under the proposal, state, county, city agencies, and sheriff’s departments would be able to apply for expedited grant funding to buy monitoring equipment, communications technologies, night-view cameras, laptops, vehicles, drones and helicopters. They would also be able to use the money to hire and train staff in prosecuting drug cases; hire additional judges; provide administrative support, dispatchers and jailers; and cover overtime expenses. U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) is working with Cornyn to get the proposal approved. Both also are trying to get Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization to operate a drone at the Texas-Mexico border.

  6. George S. Harris

    I went to my trusty Webster and here is what it says about “immigration”:

    Main Entry: im·mi·grate
    Pronunciation: \ˈi-mə-ˌgrāt\
    Function: verb
    Inflected Form(s): im·mi·grat·ed; im·mi·grat·ing
    Etymology: Latin immigratus, past participle of immigrare to remove, go in, from in- + migrare to migrate
    Date: circa 1623
    intransitive verb
    : to enter and usually become established; especially : to come into a country of which one is not a native for permanent residence
    transitive verb
    : to bring in or send as immigrants

    — im·mi·gra·tion \ˌi-mə-ˈgrā-shən\ noun

    — im·mi·gra·tion·al \-shnəl, -shə-nəl\ adjective

    Webster doesn’t differentiate between legal and illegal immigration–that is a matter of the laws of the land involved. I suppose if the indigenous American “Indians” had had immiigration laws, many of our early ancestors would have been guilty of “illegal immigration”. Fortunately for some of us, there were no such laws. And even if there had been, our ancestors were fleeing (emigrating) oppressive rulers looking for a better place. When the local natives began to resist, our ancestors came up with “manifest destiny” to justify the forcible displacement of the indigenous population.

    Our nation (as we know it today) was built by immigrants–some legal, some not so legal. I suspect many of us might just find someone in our past who came here without benefit of “proper papers”. All through our history we have imported workers to do the backbreaking work that our expansion from 13 colonies to 50 states demanded. Thousands, no tens of thousands, no perhaps millions of Irish, Italians, Chinese and Germans came here or were brought here during the 18th and 19th centuries to clear the land, build railroads, roads, canals, and populate the industries that sprung up to feed, clothe, transport and shelter the expanding population of our grown nation. And let’s not forget the forcible immigration of millions of Africans to grow the cotton, tobacco, sugar cane, and food crops that fueled our nation’s economy in the south (and in the north).

    When the Great Depression came along, we forcibly pushed many thousands of Mexicans out of our country since it was felt they were no longer needed and that “Americans”–mostly white Americans needed the jobs the Mexicans had been doing. My own parents were among the “Okies” who migrated to California to pick crops. When my father was young boy/man, he and his step brothers followed the grain harvest all through the midwest. They were migrant workers, filling a need.

    When World War II came along, we once again turned toMexico and imported labor to help us build the instruments of war we needed and to pick our crops while our folks were busy inother hostile parts of the world. We called these folks “braceros” and we welcomed them. This program lasted for some 20 years and then we were crazy enough to stop it.

    Today, economic, religious and political pressures force people to flee their native lands looking for a safer haven. Our nation has always been at the top of list for places to come to. Yes, we have millions of “illegal immigrants” but most are here because they are looking for a better life. We, as a nation, need to find a way to make immigration an easier and safer process–then perhaps we wont’ have “illegal immigrants.”

  7. Elena

    Great post George! I have told the story, many times, of my great aunt, ony 7 or 8 at the time, was smuggled through Ellis Island in a suitcase. My great grandparents, jews from Russia, were terrified she would be turned away and they simply were unwilling to risk that possiblility. I hear a saying in background…..”there but for the grace of G-d go I”

  8. Elena

    I listened to the blogcast with the Republicans.l It was very interesting, to say the least. One comment was that the John McCain running today does not resemble the John McCain that was in the senate in 2006.

  9. Starryflights

    The point of the article here is that the business community in PWC ultimately succeeded in quietly nullifying the resolution. Hopefully Arizona’s business community will find similar success. The economics of the situation need to be factored in.

  10. Also factor in increase in unsolved crimes and/or rise in crime because the immigrant community is more reticent to report incidents.

  11. Glad to see that SA and Emma finally got to view the film.

    SA, I don’t think anyone ever said that there were no problems.

    One thing that came out again and again on the radio blogcast yesterday was how both sides of the issue had been covered and how fair and balanced (wince) it seemed.

  12. Always remember, Herndon was a big inspiration for many of the proceedings in PWC. After our Town Council allowed for the creation of a Day Labor site in 2005, Help Save Herndon and the Herndon Minutemen were formed in opposition. They managed to route out the Council and replace them with their own canidates. The center was closed in 2007.

    During the time the Center was opperational, it succeded in keeping Day Laborers away from the 7-11 on the main street where they were becoming an increasing traffic danger. After the site was closed the Day Laborers went right back to the 7-11 where they remain even this morning. In the mean time the do-nothing council managed to make empty statements against Illegal Immigration, harass elderly women who disagreed with members representing the town at a local TEA party as well as driving the neighborhood atmosphere of Herndon into the gutter.

    Things can change, today is election day. There are many more challengers this year than there was in 2008.

    I hope the whole every single member of the current council will be kicked to the curb, the one good member is not seeking re-election and thankfully the biggest bully is not up either.

    Philip Jones, co-founder of Help Save Herndon and participant in “Doggy-gate 08” is also running to take a council seat. Him and his Great Dane Mascot were both there to greet (intimidate?) voters right at the polling entrance this morning @ 6:30am.

  13. We have a thread covering this event, Rod. That is a big dog. Is he used to intimidate voters?

  14. PWC Taxpayer

    @George S. Harris

    George, you do understand that many of us would, respectfully, disagree with your spin on our history and the idea that the United States has any responsibility to the those who are facing economic, religious or political pressures to flee their native lands looking for a safer haven or a better life.” The idea that we need to find a way to have open borders, amnesty or otherwise make immigration easier is crazy talk.

    My forefathers did come to escape persecution and to set up a system of self government, but did so within the law– such as it was. The vast majority of immigrants came to America within the law thorugh the 1960s – and many were turned away – at a time when the we had open, undeveloped land, jobs for the taking and a world population of well under 1 Billion and at a time when the American people were not asked – required – to provide anywhere near the level of benefits that are now available from the first day they hit the ground – from food and shelter to healthcare to both primary and colleges educations.

  15. TP, I am curious how you can disagree with something a person has lived? Mr. Harris grew up in Oklahoma and is old enough to remember many parts of what he speaks of.

    Were you out in Oklahoma and California during the Depression?

  16. Elena

    pw taxpayer,
    Love this line from you ” such as it was”…classic!

  17. PWC Taxpayer


    I get soo sick of the spin. No country on earth – ever- has accpted so many from such a wide berth of races & creeds, etc. Together we have built the shining city on the hill. We understand the desire to come here, but not until the – political correctness of the – what 1960s or 1980s have we been so enamered with making illegal entry, disrespect for our borders and systems or for others, frankly, who also want to come here from overseas and can’t because of the influx of illegals — ok. Its wrong.

  18. Mando

    Eric and Annabelle should keep going south and chastise the Mexican govt. for their immigration laws:

    “Under the Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison. Immigrants who are deported and attempt to re-enter can be imprisoned for 10 years. Visa violators can be sentenced to six-year terms. Mexicans who help illegal immigrants are considered criminals.

    The law also says Mexico can deport foreigners who are deemed detrimental to “economic or national interests,” violate Mexican law, are not “physically or mentally healthy” or lack the “necessary funds for their sustenance” and for their dependents.”

    Until, then I say they’re hypocritical publicity vultures.

  19. If I could change Mexico I would create a middle class. Additionally I would make birth control and education mandatory. The Mexican government needs to be chastised over more than just its immigration laws.

  20. e

    try sneaking into mexico from guatemala or el salvador and see what happens to you. the hypocrisy of the left is blatant

  21. Usually thugs get them. The ‘left’ has nothing to do with it.

  22. Emma

    @Moon-howler By “middle class” do you mean the poor suckers who foot the bills for things like “comprehensive healthcare reform” for everyone else? Then maybe you’re on to something…

  23. George S. Harris

    PWC Taxpayer–First of all, do you have a real name? I didn’t say we had a responsibility but I did say we are the most favored place since we have the greatest opportunities. Nor did I say we should have open borders or any of that stuff. Our immigration system is broken and we need to fix it–period. If there is a good thing that may come out of the Arizona mess, it will be that the federal government gets of its collective ass and does something. Ya know, there is a certain irony is what is happening with Mexico and Mexicans–most of the places they are going to used to be theirs–before we kicked them off the land–Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California. Remember the Alamo? I think I must agree with MH–Mexico is a land of very rich (many of them are drug lords) and the very, very poor–nothing in the middle. People leave their homelands because of the economy, social, religious and racial suppression. I suspect many don’t want to leave but feel they have no other choice if they are to live and perhaps prosper.

    No milk of human kindness in your veins–right? You got yours and the rest can take the hind most.

  24. George, you read my mind. I was just thinking that ‘milk of human kindness’ thing back on another thread. It seems to be a common thread with a particular political persuassion. UFB.

    As for the middle class paying for someone else’s health care, Emma, who the hell do you think it paying for it now? Money doesn’t grow on trees or fall out of think air.

    Mexico has almost no middle class. In fact, some of the richest people in the world live there.

  25. Emma

    Oh, right, so anyone who rejects amnesty and porous borders is therefore selfish and lacking in the “milk of human kindness”? Oh, please. The 47 percent who pay no taxes will get healthcare, and I get to pay for it. Illegal immigrants crowd my schools and hospitals and stick me with the bill. And, believe it or not, I still manage to donate to charity and volunteer what little free time I have. “No milk of human kindness,” indeed.

    You’re right that money doesn’t grow on trees or fall out of thin air. What I don’t donate myself gets taken out of my pocket anyway.

  26. No one said you specifically lacked the milk of human kindness. The lack thereof just seems to be a common thread on this blog today.

    Some of that 47% who pay no taxes, if we are to believe that number (and I think we mean federal income tax) will definitely be paying for health care and probably are paying now. Just because people pay no federal income tax doesn’t mean they are sponging, necessarily. Some are, some aren’t.

    The fact remains, we are already paying for that health care. Who else is paying for it now if not us? There are lots of people walking on their hospital bills and using free clinics. I would rather go with a pool to shrink those costs so it isn’t showing up on my health care costs. That’s whats happening now. Hospitals charge more and therefore my health care goes up. No poor pitiful me here. I pay for my own.

  27. PWC Taxpayer

    Stop, stop the crazy talk. Bleeding heart liberals “give aways” have never helped anybody over the long term. You liberals will feed and feed as long as the hungery are dependent on you (Obamacare is a very good expample of this). Conservatives have been and are are willing to feed the hungry as long as they are also willing to learn to sow. Legal immigrants and Illegal tresspassers come to the United States because there are benefits and opportunities. The difference is that those who treat the two classes of new-comers the same – do so without respect for the law, with other peoples mandatory tax based charity and then accuse conservatives of being hard hearted. That is sophmoric.

  28. PWC Taxpayer

    Outrageous! — probably a neo-soviet coffee breaker !!!

    Chief Andrew Staubitz of the Capitol Police in Phoenix, Arizona responded to a call from the first floor of the executive tower of the Arizona Capitol. An employee opened an envelope addressed to Governor Jan Brewer which contained a “powdery white substance.” The immediate area and lobby were closed for about thirty minutes, during which time the substance was “packaged as evidence of a crime” and sent to the State lab for analysis, says Staubitz. The results of the lab analysis are expected in less than 24 hours. The police will be working with the FBI in investigating the incident.

  29. Mando

    George S. Harris :
    Our immigration system is broken and we need to fix it–period. If there is a good thing that may come out of the Arizona mess, it will be that the federal government gets of its collective ass and does something.
    No milk of human kindness in your veins–right? You got yours and the rest can take the hind most.

    The Federal Government has no incentive whatsoever to “fix it”. The dems are driven to legalize and subsidize them for votes and the republicans are driven by the economic windfall illegal labor can provide. The Mexican govt has everything to lose and nothing to gain by “fixing it” unless they can keep exporting their unwanted and keep the remittances flowing.

    I’d prefer to be afforded the liberty to choose to whom I give my “milk of kindness” too rather then be forced by the dubious “visions” of the self-righteous whom think they know better then I how to spend my money.

  30. Mando, both Republicans and Democrats are jocking for hispanic votes. make no mistake about that. The thing everyone needs to remember is that citizens can’t vote. Until a person becomes a citizen, no one should be getting their vote–Democrat or Republican.

    And Mando, I think you should chose who you give to also. I just wish people didn’t have to sound so nasty and hateful over it. There are poor people. People who cannot do for themselves.

  31. Elena

    e :try sneaking into mexico from guatemala or el salvador and see what happens to you. the hypocrisy of the left is blatant

    Or try sneaking in through Ellis Island in a suitcase!

  32. Elena

    I love how people can “brag” about their immigrant ancestry, draw shamrocks on their faces, make grandma’s sauce recipe from the old country,etc etc, and yet can’t WAIT to slam the door for the next large influx of people who want to come here because now THOSE immigrants will surely ruin the American way of life.

    1. Poor Richard said on 12 Mar 2008 at 11:34 am:
    “…a large majority of them can neither read or write, do not
    understand our language and have natural tendencies to live
    crowded among their own race and to continue their customs brought
    with them. Some of the philanthropists and educated fools are
    worrying how to deal with this problem when the only sensible
    way to deal with this problem is to pass an immigration law that
    will keep them out of the country entirely, for we have no use
    for them, and they are a menace to America and American institutions
    … over a million have arrived in the past year and still
    comes the miserable horde, and the politician sells not only
    his own birthright but the peace and health of his countrymen
    for a few ballots … the nature of this filth is too low and
    vile to exploit in print … American for Americans …
    The time has come when the American people must call a halt
    to the ….. Italians.”
    Baltimore News (Nov. 7, 1906)

Comments are closed.