9500 Liberty and Illegal Immigrants: Be Careful What You Wish For

Pittsburgh, PA –(ENEWSPF)– I had the opportunity to attent the Netroots Nation conferencein Pittsburgh last Friday while on vacation visiting my family. One of the presentations I attended was a screening of 9500 Liberty, a documentary that is soon-to-be released. The movie is incredibly moving. Here is the synopsis from the Web site, http://www.9500Liberty.com:

Prince William County, Virginia becomes ground zero in America’s explosive battle over immigration policy when elected officials adopt a law requiring police officers to question anyone they have “probable cause” to suspect is an undocumented immigrant. 9500 Liberty reveals the startling vulnerability of a local government, targeted by national anti-immigration networks using the Internet to frighten and intimidate lawmakers and citizens. Alarmed by a climate of fear and racial division, residents form a resistance using YouTube videos and virtual townhalls, setting up a real-life showdown in the seat of county government. The devastating social and economic impact of the “Immigration Resolution” is felt in the lives of real people in homes and in local businesses. But the ferocious fight to adopt and then reverse this policy unfolds inside government chambers, on the streets, and on the Internet. 9500 Liberty provides a front row seat to all three battlegrounds.

As I watched the 45-minute segment presented to us, I especially took notice on the economic impact of essentially removing a sizeable, significant, tax-paying portion of a population is made to feel extremely unwelcome, and leaves.

How did this happen? One blogger, who hated “illegal immigrants,” ran what can only be characterized as a brilliant campaign to pressure the County Board to pass what turned out to be an insane ordinance permitting police to stop anyone who “appeared” to be an illegal alien. Racial profiling, pure and simple. It was especially unnerving to see people stand up at County Board meetings talking about how glad they were that these “derogatory term” were no longer at school bus stops with her children. The next speaker reminded the crowd that these “derogatory term” are children that she was talking about.

The results to Prince William County were devestating. Businesses closed. Homes were left vacant. Once thriving restaurants were left empty.

Residents of Prince William County can thank Corey A. Stewart, Chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, for the economic ruin. A brief bio of Stewart from 9500Liberty.com:

Republican Corey A. Stewart was elected as Chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors on November 7, 2006 in a special election after Chairman Sean Connaughton was appointed as head of the U.S. Maritime Administration. Previously, Stewart had been elected as the Occoquan District Supervisor in 2003. Stewart began the sudden “crackdown” on illegal immigration in July 2007, and was reelected in November 2007 using “Fighting Illegal Immigration” as his campaign slogan. During the height of his fame, Chairman Stewart hinted he may soon run for Congress in 2008 or for Lieutenant Governor in 2009, but he did not announce his candidacy for either race. He resides in Woodbridge with his wife Maria and two sons.

The movie made me proud to be a teacher at Marian Catholic, a school with a strong anti-racism program. And very proud to be a resident of Park Forest, a Village with signs posted at every entrance: “No Racial Profiling,” a community that embraced diversity from its inception, and formed a Commission on Human Relations long before other communities throughout the nation.

And it made me worry as to what we might become.

Here’s one of the many things members of the County Board did not consider: what happens when the tables turn some day? Policy makers need to think well into the future.  No one has a crystal ball, but circumstances will change.  Let’s try and imagine a possible scenario where the tables are turned. White Americans will no longer be in the majority by 2042, the U.S. Census Bureau reported in August 2008.  So what will happen to the grandchildren of Prince William County board members in 2050?  Is it concievable they will be stopped under suspicion that they are illegal aliens?

Please, visit the Web site: http://www.9500Liberty.com for more.