The Washington Post printed this story over a week ago. Elena and I are not sure how we missed it. We believe the parallels are important. We have reprinted the entire article by Tara Bahrampour:
By Tara Bahrampour
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 7, 2010
Three years after the Prince William County board approved an ordinance similar to the controversial immigration legislation passed last month in Arizona, county residents are still arguing about whether it has achieved its intended effects. The results might offer some insight into how Arizona’s new law will play out.
Special Report: The Battle Over Immigration
The Prince William ordinance, which initially required police to check the status of detainees they suspected of being undocumented immigrants, raised ire among immigrant advocates and drew sharp criticism from the county police chief, who said it would cost taxpayers more, lead to allegations of racism and erode police-community relations — predictions now being made by opponents of the Arizona law.
The Prince William ordinance was modified in 2008 amid charges that it was unconstitutional and could lead to racial profiling. In the end, rather than questioning only people they suspected of being undocumented immigrants, officers were directed to question all criminal suspects about their immigration status once an arrest was made.
The county also participates in the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement “287(g)” program, in which a cadre of police officers are trained and deputized to act as ICE officers in making status checks and referring individuals for deportation.