So I got dragged to 9500 Liberty last night. That’s not true, I saw the trailer for 9500 Liberty the day before and learned that it was a documentary about an anti-immigration bill from Prince William County, VA.
Prince William County is not far from Washington DC but is a very rural area with lots of history. It is an affluent area and like the rest of the country experienced a boom in building in the early 2000’s. In order to meet the demand for houses a new labor force was utilized, much of this labor force consisted primarily of latino workers and some were undocumented, aka illegal aliens.
One group of citizens began to feel intimidated by this new populations customs. They were different from the ones that they lived with. They began to speak out about their fear of this new group and influenced elected officials to act in their interests. The bill was passed unanimously by the Prince William county board to give police officers the power of ‘probable cause’ to ask ethnic minorities for legal documentation. When the illegal immigrants were thrown out foreclosures skyrocketed and local businesses closed as they lost 10% of their business in a matter of months.
The county managed to take the recession pains felt by the whole country and exacerbate them by removing their lower class tax and revenue base. Then the politicians who used the bill as their election platform started to attack the Chief of Police, who had been in the town for over 4 decades, for being a traitor. Turns out money and loyalty are two things that will motivate people to speak out and tell their leaders what they want. Eventually the bill was changed to remove ‘probable cause’ and now all criminals are given background checks, regardless of race, after they have been caught. Basically they remembered that in the US you are innocent until proven guilty.
This was in 2007-2008, and the parallels to present day Arizona are enough to make you have a few stiff drinks. Today we have Jan Brewer, the governor who wasn’t elected into office, using illegal immigration as her election platform cause everything else she has done here has failed, failed, and oh yeah failed in a big ball of flames. We have the same group that wrote the bill in Virgina,Â the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), writing the one in Arizona( Arizona SB 1070). It turns out they are listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Lay Center. We have a miserable economy, huge deficits, and a very gullible population that has fallen victim to fear politics.
I have allowed my self to become complacent and indifferent to politics. The 8 years of draconian events under George Bush, put me into the position of throwing my arms up in surrender. However I did get out and support President Obama and I did vote for him even though Arizona went with the other guy. This bill in Arizona however has further awoken my sense of pride in being an America which to me is embodied in one word – tolerance.
The line has been crossed into something I have up till now only experienced in other countries: China, the former USSR, and Poland to cite specific examples. In these countries I experienced first hand what it means to always have to carry Identification and have paramilitary police on every corner. In Poland I visited Auchwizt where the worst of what people can become existed and thrived and still hallows the ground and air.
I understand that people are frustrated about the economy and taking care of their family. I agree that something needs to be done, but this bill simply goes too far. If we want to hit illegal immigration hard why aren’t we looking at the businesses that employ illegal immigrants harder? If there was no demand then economics tells is there would be no need for supply.
If you agree with me on this I suggest a few things: 1) Go and see 9500 Liberty. 2)Start talking about this with every person that you know, but be civil and open to everyones opinion. If it crumbles into an argument find a bar and get a few beers and maybe a shot or two. 3)Find out who your representatives are from the ground up. You may be shocked to find out how many there are. If you dont agree with their stance find out who is running against them in the next election and start talking to them. Turns out politicians are blank sheets of paper and whatever their constituancy tells them is what their stance will be.
If you don’t agree with me thats cool too. I have a comment section just below here and you are welcome to say whatever you want there. I will not edit or delete any comment that isn’t spam. Please remember that all caps means you are shouting, thats cool as long as you realize it…
Here are the sites I linked to above: