As Sergeant Joe Friday used to say, The facts Mame, nothing but the facts . Well the facts are in, and as many of us have been saying for years, Prince William Counties 2007 Rule of Law legislative package dealing with Illegal Immigration was a resounding success. It worked ! So says the recently released 3 year study conducted by a collaboration of researchers from the University of Virginia, the Police Executive Research Forum and James Madison University.
This third party independent study validates the Prince William County boards actions and serves as notice to other local governments that properly done, local governments can have a positive effect on the issue of illegal immigration. Or as I like to say, illegal migration. Local communities can demand that local elected bodies begin to deal with this issue in a very fact based, straight forward and non-discriminatory fashion. Positive effects can be felt by citizens through local efforts, we don’t have to wait for our Uncle Sam to get off his rear end and do something. The myth that only the federal government can deal with this issue is now exposed as a smoke screen by those who want to do nothing. Local Governments not willing to wait while Washington Politicians dither and make excuses can move forward. The template has been created, tested and confirmed, they can effect positive and lawful change in a way that discriminates against no one.
My message to those looking to get elected to ANY office in Loudoun county in 2011 is, get to know the facts, get to know this study and be prepared to lead on the issue when the time comes. Prince William County did the hard work, they took the political arrows for you. Now all you have to do is capitalize on their efforts and implement a similar package in Loudoun. The illegals who once lived in Prince William County but migrated here to Loudoun in 2008 , 2009 and 2010 will get the message that Loudoun too is serious about the rule of law. All it will take is our implementation of legislation designed after what was done in Prince William, and we too can greatly lower our probability of being a final destination for illegals.
Prince William County summed it up quit nicely :
November 16, 2010
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VIRGINIA . . . In 2008, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors took the unprecedented step of commissioning the University of Virginia Center for Survey Research to conduct an unbiased, social-scientific investigation on the impact the immigration policy would have on the local community.
Today, the University of Virginia Center for Survey Research, supported by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and James Madison University (JMU), reports its findings of the impact that Prince William County’s Illegal Immigration Enforcement Policy has had on dealing with the challenges of illegal immigration.
The report focuses on the County’s police efforts to implement the policy adopted by the Board of County Supervisors in July 2008. One of the main findings of the report is the following:
“One implication of Prince William’s experience is inescapable,” states the report. “It is indeed possible for a local government to have an impact on its experience with illegal immigration, despite the national scope of the problem and the primacy of the federal government in dealing with the issue.”
The report acknowledges the intended goals and potential challenges that have been articulated regarding the policy. Despite much controversy and argument on all sides of the issue, the report objectively illustrates the actual impacts of the policy. Of note are the following findings:
• Although relatively speaking, illegal immigrants account for a small to modest percent of most crime, the following crimes were impacted:
Aggravated assault declined substantially since the policy was announced – The report argues that “this decline coincided very closely with the announcement of the policy, which makes it less likely that the drop was precipitated by factors like the County’s economic trends or other PWCPD crime-reduction initiatives.”
There was a sharp decline in serious hit-and-run accidents – The researchers conclude that “this change is a direct result of the policy and the departure of illegal immigrants, since illegal immigrants would have obvious incentives to leave the scene of a traffic accident and the reduction seems less likely to be linked to possible changes in reporting of incidents.”
• The policy provides a reasonable method for addressing the illegal immigration issue in the community – The report notes that the policy “mandates immigration checks only for arrestees, [and] appears to be a reasonable way of targeting illegal immigrants who commit criminal violations.”
• The police reputation was not irreparably damaged – The report notes that, initially, there was a dissatisfaction and distrust of the police, particularly in the Hispanic community. However, it points out that “chilly relations with Hispanics warmed fairly rapidly,” and “overall satisfaction with the police was fully restored among Hispanics by 2010.”
• Prince William County is viewed by its residents, regardless of race or ethnicity, as inclusive and as a great place to live – In comparing Hispanic to non-Hispanic sentiments, the report notes that both remain satisfied with Prince William County and both rate Prince William County as a desirable place to live.
• There is no evidence of racial profiling – The report notes “we can say with assurance that no detectable pattern of over-enthused immigration enforcement developed among the County’s police officers, and we heard nothing from any quarter about any [officers] abusing their discretion on this issue.”
• The fear of costly litigation stemming from the policy never materialized – The report points out the fact that only two lawsuits have been filed as a result of the policy. The first was a class action lawsuit filed against the County seeking to have the policy overturned. The second included peripheral allegations of profiling resulting from a Police arrest. The Court has thrown out all legal challenges to the policy and all allegations of racial profiling.
• There was no exodus of legal immigrants, and the largest immigrant population (Hispanics) remained stable – The report finds that “substantial numbers of illegal immigrants did leave the County, and it is reasonable to suppose that some legal immigrants also chose to leave.” However, “the fact that the size of the Hispanic community remained stable as the illegal immigrants departed, and the age structure of the Hispanic community changed significantly after the policy was introduced, both suggest that more acculturated Hispanics remained and/or took the place of the illegal immigrants (and legal immigrants) who did choose to leave.”
“This report confirms what we have argued all along – Prince William County’s Illegal Immigration Enforcement Policy and the Police Department’s enforcement of the policy is fair, non-discriminatory, and has made a positive impact on our community,” said Corey Stewart, Chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. “Prince William County serves as a model for how other localities and states can deal with the issues brought on by the federal government’s unwillingness to address the problems with current immigration practices. By identifying and reporting arrested criminals who are in this country illegally, localities send a strong message that criminal illegal aliens are not welcome in their community. Through extensive training of our Police officers and educating our citizens, we are able to build trust and ensure the safety of all of our residents. I hope that other localities will follow our lead.”
The “Evaluation Study of Prince William County Illegal Immigration Enforcement Policy” is a report of a three-year, interdisciplinary evaluation study of the illegal immigration policy in Prince William County. The study was requested by the Board at the time the policy was passed into law and was funded by Prince William County. The research team was a collaboration of researchers at the University of Virginia, the Police Executive Research Forum and James Madison University.