What’s happening in Arizona is exactly what happened in Prince William, but board Chairman Corey Stewart says outcry and criticism shouldn’t dissuade the state from going forth with tough new immigration laws.
“Essentially, we were the test case for what’s going on in Arizona,” said Stewart, R-At-Large. “I can tell you the intensity they’re facing is exactly the intensity the board of county supervisors faced, and it came from several corridors … that essentially tried to threaten the county.”
In late April, Arizona’s Republican governor, Jan Brewer, signed into law new immigration policy giving local law enforcement the authority “to reasonably determine the immigration status of a person involved in a lawful contact [with officials],” according to the summary sheet of S.B. 1070 posted on the state’s website. The lawful contact clause in particular caused concern among civil rights activists who foresaw worst-case scenarios where police would engage in racial profiling and de-mand paperwork proving legal status from, say, pedestrians based on skin color.
Prince William County’s immigration policy, by contrast, states that police broach the issue of legal presence only after “physical custodial arrest,” according to a June 2008 press release from the police department on the main points of enforcement procedures.[bold mine]
It is important to note that the ‘physical custodial arrest’ component was a very difficult uphill battle to achieve. The original immigration resolution operated on probably cause.
Regardless of who says what, Corey Stewart fought against changing the probable cause component of the PWC Immigration Resolution.
From antibvbl.net’s archives:
April 30, 2008
Probable Cause Amended, United Board Takes Important Step
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
Insidenova further adds:
The question now: Will the heat coming from Arizona ultimately cool Prince William’s policy?
That’s doubtful, Stewart said.
“We were told we were going to get sued, that what we were doing was unlawful, it would lead to an explosion of racial profiling cases,” he said. “And you know what? Not one case ever held. As of about one month ago, the jail had handed to [Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials] 2,350 illegal aliens [since 2007] who had committed crimes in the county. It’s even more now.”
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch—a nonprofit organization in Washington that helped Prince Wil-liam develop its immigration policy—said he believes most Arizona residents are behind the law.
“I think Arizona’s law is going to result in more enforcement, not less,” he said. “Arizona overwhelmingly supports the law and that reflects the view of most Americans and people who want border control.”
Not all agree, however, and characterize both county and Arizona immigration laws as discriminatory policies that will ultimately crumble.
“What we saw here in [the county] is the same kind of unconstitutional, anti-immigrant overreach that we’re now seeing in Arizona. [It’s] a far-reaching law that is probably unconstitutional and impossible to enforce,” said Pete Frisbie, chairman of the Prince William County Democratic Party, in an e-mail. “The result here was that the Board of Supervisors was forced to roll-back its original resolution to something much weaker … I believe we will ultimately see a similar result in Ari-zona.”
Mr. Stewart is conveniently omitting some vital information. If he truly cares about Arizona, he might also want to advise them of the pitfalls. He might also want to tell them that our resolution changed greatly because of his peers who had the guts to stand up to him. He might also want to tell them how he and his puppet master put a spin on it that they were happy and that the Resolution was stronger…but that he isn’t really telling the truth about that.
Corey, John, and HSM must have brought in an army to draft that Immigration Resolution. FAIR, Judicial Watch, local attorneys. My, my! So many folks involved, just to have the darn thing neutered!
Arizona had better hup to it and get neutering before they get in over their heads.