After Prince William, Is Chesterfield Next?

Prince William County’s crackdown on illegal immigrants may spawn imitators around the state, reports the Times-Dispatch. Chesterfield County, which is studying the illegal-alien issue, might consider proposals similar to Prince William’s actions. Said Supervisor Chair Kelly E. Miller:

“I don’t know until we get back the report what kind of options exist for us legally, but I want to aggressively go at it. I think we need to be aggressive in attempting to identify these illegals,” he said. “I don’t want to be crazy about this thing. I don’t want to be out on a witch hunt. But at the same time, we need to . . . get more aggressive in identifying illegals, get a handle on what our tax resources are being used for and limit them to those who are legally entitled.”

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21 responses to “After Prince William, Is Chesterfield Next?”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    You know I was thinking about this today and even though I agree with whats going on you read some of these quotes and they look really bad from a racial standpoint

    Then I put my finger on it. Where is the outcry against the employers that are hiring these individuals. Uh oh wait a minute could some of those employers even by you and I.

    In closing I agree with the premise of the proposals but without having equally strong language calling out and punishing emplyoers and individuals who hire illegal aliens the net effect is a bad taste of racial undertones.

  2. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Maybe, for a minute, just think about what is being said vs what is done because I don’t think they “track”.

    Local jurisdictions are basically saying they want to track down these “illegals” because … they are using services, crowding into houses, etc.. “using services that they do not pay for”.

    .. but isn’t it likely that these same “illegals” are ALSO working at some businesses in those same jurisdictions?

    so.. why the emphasis on the tracking down the individuals and not the businesses who hire them?

    If a business were hiring non-hispanics and treating them the same way hispanics are being treated – what would happen?

    I have the answer. “Illegals” are vulnerable and likely cannot afford decent legal assistance and so they can be bullied and intimidated… whereas who wants to beat up on a local business and it’s “respectable” law abiding proprietors?

    I think it really stinks in terms of businesses and government essentially colluding to maintain
    the practice of taking advantage of those who are vulnerable and then heaping additional punishment on the same ones being taken advantage of when they are ‘discovered”.

    Bonus Question: Can “illegals” legally join our Armed Forces?

  3. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    If you are a business that prefers compliant labor that is ignorant of American work rules and in any event afraid to report violations anyhow…where would you find such workers?

    It’s easy – you create an underclass of them by encouraging public zenophobic attitudes and the appropriate government responses to “track them down” …

    That means more and more of them move into an underworld and are available for exploitation – as long as the laws don’t focus on businesses they hire them.

    I don’t think all businesses that use immigrant labor work this way…

    but we all know that there are individuals who, in the name of profit and business, want labor that is cheap and won’t complain about conditions for fear of not only losing their job but be pursued by law enforcement.

    If business truly wants to legitimize the use of immigrant labor – they should be speaking out publically about those who, in the name of businesses are predatory and practice subjugation of their work forces.

    In other words, develop public attitudes that VALUE immigrant labor and the people who do that labor instead of treating them like netherworld criminals.

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    Bonus Question: Can “illegals” legally join our Armed Forces?

    As I understand it, the answer is yes.

  5. Groveton Avatar

    NMM is right. There are some racial overtones in this whole debate. Unemployment in Northern Virginia is 2.5%. The national average is something like 4.8%. Both of these numbers are very low. At this moment in time, it’s hard to credibly say that illegal immigrants are taking away American jobs. In Northern Virginia, the math just doesn’t seem to work.

    Jim Bacon rightly says that there is no history of anti-Hispanic bias in Virginia. He also correctly says that Northern Virginia has a lot of Hispanic owned businesses. While these points are true, I think there is considerable disparity in attitude across Virginia and across Northern Virginia. Arlington probably has the largest Hispanic population in the state (just my guess). Arlington also has the lowest unemployment in the state – something unbelievable like 1.3% There are no public outcries in Arlington against illegal aliens and their “lawless” ways. However, when you get to Prince William County and some other areas in Northern Virginia – attitudes seem to change. The debate goes from illegal aliens taking up taxpayer’s services to illegal aliens being criminals to illegal aliens hanging around on street corners and drinking. Since nobody can look at an hispanic person and see whether he / she is a legal resident / citizen or illegal alien, these complaints start to sound racist to me. They sound more like “we don’t like Hispanics” rather than “we want to enforce immigration law”.

    Is there any quantitative evidence that Hispanics or illegal Hispanic aliens commit any more or less crime than the other groups in the same socio-economic class?

    Also – the point on employers is dead on. While I don’t think they have quite the conspirational plans that some bloggers think – they are the root cause of the problem and could be the way to solve the problem (of illegal immigration).

    Finally, all the people in Northern Virginia ought to blow the cobwebs off their wallets if all the illegal immigrants are rounded up and deported. At 2.5% unemployment any decrease in the labor pool will raise prices. Some of you may even have to mow your own lawns!

  6. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    the point on employers is dead on. While I don’t think they have quite the conspirational plans that some bloggers think – they are the root cause of the problem and could be the way to solve the problem (of commuting).

    If we think employers are the attractive nuisance cause that creates illegal immigrants, why can’t we get our head around the idea that they are the root cause of congestion and a host of other ills as well?

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    Ready for some more uglyness

    The reason there is less outcry in Arlington is because there is defacto self-segregation. Its well known that the further south you go the more economically less well off and more ethnically diverse you become

    I am pretty sure if you swapped out people living in North Arlington with people from Prince William similar reactions would occur

    As a relatively young person I am ashamed to admit how often I here people in my generation saying they would never live in South Arlington or along the Columbia Pike corridor in general.


  8. George Mason’s recent survey of attitudes on the subject of immigration shows that anti-immigrant/anti-illegal immigration views are held more often by folks on the lower rungs of the economic ladder and are linked strongly to where people fit ideologically (liberal/conservative). Read report here.

    Accordingly, you would expect to see more anti-immigrant bias in working class neighborhoods with lower priced housing stock than you see in higher income areas.

    Thus, if the survey results are reliable, in Arlington, acknowledging that the Metro line in Arlington divides North and South Arlington into wealthy and less wealthy neigbhorhoods, you should be more likely to see Prince William-like responses in South Arlington rather than in North Arlington.

    Perhaps the reason that South Arlington residents and Prince William residents are reacting differently is a question (remarkable thought ??!!)of “leadership.”

    In Arlington, the County vision statement is:

    Our Vision: Arlington will be a
    diverse and inclusive world-class urban community with secure, attractive residential and commercial neighborhoods where people unite to form a caring, learning, participating, sustainable community in which each person is important.

    The elected and appointed leadership works to fulfill this mission uniting the community and respecting individual contributions.

    Leaders have a choice here. Allow myths about “lawlessness” (Prince William’s own data show that crime has gone down even while immigrant populations have gone up, except for street robberies primarily of Hispanics) and “economic impact” (study after study shows positive benefit that outweighs cost of services) to go unrefuted and fan the flames of intolerance or seek to lead their communities to address real problems (overcrowding, for example) with a combination of outreach (enrolling immigrant communities in efforts to understand and respond to code violations by their neighbors) and enforcement (using existing ordinances to sanction violations).

  9. Regarding service in the military … only citizens and legal permanent residents currently can serve. 35,000 noncitizens currently serve in the military and the first person killed in Iraq was a Latino who entered the US illegally, adjusted his status, became a legal permanent resident before he joined the military and a citizen posthumously). Here’s an article from the Boston Globe that describes current law (which offers a fast track to citizenship for green card holders who join the military) and the proposal included in the DREAM Act which would offer a path to legalization for illegal immigrants who join the military. Senator Lugar and others have announced that they will seek to move the DREAM Act forward in the Senate next week by offering it as an amendment to a pending House bill.

  10. Anonymous Avatar

    “and “economic impact” (study after study shows positive benefit that outweighs cost of services)”

    Actually, no, they don’t. This used to be true; but that was back before illegal immigration took off – back when immigrants were BETTER educated than most US citizens. That hasn’t been true for years. And the benefits that actually do accrue tend to go toward (1) higher income citizens and (2) the immigrants themselves. Needless to say, the higher income citizens also have the means to live in neighborhoods that are less likely to be affected by over-crowded housing and to be able to send their children to schools, often private, that are also not as affected as the schools that middle and working class people send their children to.

    For some years, I have spent at least an hour a day of my OWN time reading on the prickly issue of immigration, both legal and illegal, both pro and con. I have looked at it from many angles and I am convinced that middle and working class people are greatly harmed by the massive legal and illegal immigration that we have seen in the last 25-30 years. I have long advocated that what is needed most is a massive crackdown on those who employ illegal immigrants.

    What we recently saw in the defeat of Senate Bill 1639 is the reaction of many people like myself who felt betrayed by the 1986 Amnesty. I readily accepted the 1986 Amnesty – and it was called that then – of 1.2 million illegal aliens in exchange for employment verification and border security that would make illegal immigration rare in the future. What we got was amnesty for 3 million illegal aliens PLUS their families, including extended families later, and no enforcement worthy of the name. In fact, as bad as it was under Bush I and Clinton, it has been even worse under Bush II, who seems absolutely delusional on the issue.

    “.. but isn’t it likely that these same “illegals” are ALSO working at some businesses in those same jurisdictions?”

    Well, not necessarily. I think we all remember the Herndon Day Laborer Center (HDLC) debate. I managed to get in touch with someone who was following this subject closely up in NoVA. I was informed that (1) next to nobody who spoke in favor of the HDLC actually lived in Herndon. This easily explains why the mayor and all but one of the town council members who supported this HDLC lost in the next election. And (2) as soon as the official HDLC came into being, small informal day laborer sites sprang up all over Herndon. So who was populating these sites? Well, many of the laborers themselves were those who started out at the HDLC and got a lottery number so high that they knew they wouldn’t get work that day. In short the HDLC was employing only a fraction of those who sought work. There were far more workers than work, which doesn’t sound like a worker shortage but a surplus. Also a lot of the employers who picked up the workers at these informal sites seemed to be “unofficial” contractors, not some guy looking for somebody to paint his porch. By “unofficial”, I mean contractors who hadn’t bothered to get licenses etc. They also seemed to be taking these workers to work sites outside of Herndon. In short, the mostly middle-working class town of Herndon was being used as a staging area for work not even being done there. Naturally the costs – financial and social – of the concentration of illegal aliens that lived in Herndon were being paid for largely by the residents of Herndon.

    During the debate on Amendment 1 affecting gay marriage etc, cg2, you were quite careful to note your connection to groups opposing this amendment. I remember this debate because I too opposed it. I thought that your doing so was a positive thing. I could be wrong but I seem to remember seeing your name in a recent (WaPo?) article on the subject of immigration. If I am correct, perhaps you’d like to be equally upfront on this issue.

  11. Anonymous Avatar

    The 2:16 comment was mine – Deena Flinchum

  12. Anonymous Avatar

    Perhaps the reason that South Arlington residents and Prince William residents are reacting differently is a question (remarkable thought ??!!)of “leadership.” CG2

    Perhaps, but I can think of a much more likely and less metaphysical reason, which I call the California Effect. First of all it is important to remember that PW’s laws affect illegal immigrants, not legal ones.

    California, as we all know, is growing tremendously. What is generally NOT known is that since the early 90’s, more domestic population has been leaving CA than moving there. CA’s growth is almost all immigration – legal and illegal – and new births to these immigrants.

    The same seems true with Arlington County. Note the 2 graphs (site below)labeled Sources of Population Change 1990-1999 and 2000-2006. The domestic migration OUT of Arlington county was substantial in the 90’s and increased even more in the smaller time-frame of 2000-2006.

    Also note the same 2 graphs for PW County. Large increase of Domestic migration INTO PW in the 90’s with an even larger increase since 2000.

    My point is that where migration is concerned, Arlington lost domestic population while receiving a great deal of foreign migration. PW gained a lot of domestic population as well as some foreign.

    Look at births over deaths increase in both counties, especially PW (same sites). My guess is that what we are seeing are young couples with children either planned or already there moving farther out, some no doubt to PW. There are a multitude of reasons why they may be moving there ranging from house prices to schools to preferring to live in a less “diverse” neighborhood. This last reason is perfectly valid and these folks are no more xenophobic racists than were the folks who moved to Fairfax County in the 60’s and 70’s instead of living in DC – the folks who started Fairfax County down the road to some of the best schools in the nation.

    In short, people who don’t want to live in “diverse” Arlington for whatever reason may have been voting with their feet for years, maybe for PW, especially when children – and affordable housing with good schools – were becoming a factor in their lives. Why blame them for wanting to maintain their affordable housing with good schools? Face it, all that they are saying is ENFORCE THE LAWS. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    I long suspected that a lot of the outward migration from the inner counties such as Arlington to the outer counties such as PW, Loudoun and Stafford have similar origins and have for years.

    And as for “leadership”, I suspect the mayor and town council in Herndon thought they were exercising “leadership” in supporting the Herndon day laborer center over the outcry of their constituents. Their “followers” saw it as ignoring their wishes and shoving the HDLS down their throats, and they acted accordingly. There’s a lesson there, and it looks as if it is being learned in a number of places.

    “crime has gone down even while immigrant populations have gone up,” CG2

    A great deal can depend on what populations get displaced and on whether the immigrants are legal or illegal. If they move into a neighborhood with high-crime, open air drug markets, etc and replace the population keeping these things going, crime will go down.

    In the apartment complex that I lived in in NoVA before moving to Blacksburg, I saw a low density, largely middle-aged and older, disproportionally female long-term middle and working class population get replaced by high density, largely young and disproportionally male short-term and I suspect largely unskilled immigrant population. Street crime increased significantly.

    And it is critical to remember that wherever you have a large population of illegal immigrants, you have a high crime area. The fact that our governments seem to choose not to enforce laws regarding illegal immigration doesn’t mean that crime is not being committed. From entering the US illegally through obtaining forged documents to colaborating with our equally criminal businessmen in violating employment laws, they are creating a high-crime area.

    Deena Flinchum

  13. Anonymous Avatar

    Just to clarify a bit

    Here is my main point

    The people living in North Arlingon are surrounded by people who are well-off and don’t have to deal with the “issues” (purposefully in quotes insert whatever you personally think they are) that are being dealt with by Prince William residents

    My grand experiment would be to take a bus load of North Arlington people stick them in a truely diverse working class neighborhood and ask them if their views on illegal immigration had changed


    The post article about the Herndon day labor site is very interesting

    It seems that at least 75% of the laborers are illegal

    For the life of me I don’t understand why an ICE agent is out there everyday arresting BOTH the illegal day laborer AND the people by all accounts KNOWINGLY HIRING illegal aliens and breaking numerous laws.

    IMHO the illegal aliens are just trying to survive. Until we seriously crack down on the people employing these individuals the illegal immigration problem will not be solved

    Once again by allowing a shadow economy of poor working conditions and low wages we get cheaper products. But is the resulting race to the botoom for legal work really “worth” it.

    So who ultimately benefits from illegal immigration. IMHO, white collar individuals. Blue collar has their cost savings wiped out by either lower wages or loss of jobs.


  14. Anonymous Avatar

    “Once again by allowing a shadow economy of poor working conditions and low wages we get cheaper products. But is the resulting race to the botoom for legal work really “worth” it.

    So who ultimately benefits from illegal immigration. IMHO, white collar individuals. Blue collar has their cost savings wiped out by either lower wages or loss of jobs.”

    Excellent point, NMM. I believe that I have pointed out here that during the greatest building boom since the one immediately post WWII, construction workers’ wages actually declined.

    At least a year and a half ago, I predicted that we would shortly start seeing foreclosures in the housing market directly associated with the immigrant community. I based this on (1) the lax attitude that a lot of “mortgage institutions” had toward high-risk loans and (2) a huge increase in single-family houses all over with several families or a high number of individuals living in the same house. It was obvious what was happening: People who couldn’t afford to buy the house outright were “affording” it by not having to justify their ability to pay (liar loans) and making the initial payments by combining more than one family into the house and/or renting rooms to single individuals. Sure enough, a long article in the WaPo articulated these very issues recently.

    Well, let me make another prediction, this time here: In the not too distant future, you are going to see a good number of houses in NoVA that were built or renovated with “cheap” labor start to have major structural problems. This is already happening elsewhere. Construction isn’t simple. It requires skill, knowledge, and experience; and you don’t get that by hiring in front of a 7-11; nor do you get it by paying the cheapest wage. And good luck getting satisfaction from the builders when this happens. If they have a “what the hell” attitude toward hiring unskilled illegal workers, possibly off the books, they’ll probably have a the same attitude about making bad work good.

  15. Anonymous Avatar

    BTW, the highest default rate in NoVA was in Herndon.

    The above posting was mine as well.

    Deena Flinchum

  16. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    “Here’s an article from the Boston Globe that describes current law (which offers a fast track to citizenship for green card holders who join the military)”

    I stand corrected. I thought the fast track applied to non-greencard holdes as well.

  17. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    Way to go, Deena.

    I think that is good comment and insight, whether I agree with it or not.

    I’m not sure I agree that houses will start to fall down because they were constructed with cheap labor. Anyway, that’s why we have building inspectors.

    I’m pretty sure my own house was built largely by unskilled farmhands during the off seasons, and there is plenty of evidence that they didn’t all know what they were doing. Nothing in this house (that I didn’t put in) would pass code today.

    It is still standing after 110 years.

    As for white collar benefiting and blue collar not – maybe. We need to ask ourselves whther we would rather have 12 million low wage workers here, working for us, or if we would rather have 12 million enemies overseas competing with us.

  18. Anonymous Avatar

    Kudos on having that great house, Ray, but as I’m sure you know, you don’t see the ones that DID fall down. Don’t assume that those guys were all that “unskilled”. I grew up in SW VA and carpentry was a skill that “real men” mastered just as they did hunting, fishing, working on their cars, etc. There weren’t that many “construction” companies around there in the 40’s & 50’s. The add-on rooms on the house that I grew up in are still standing 50+ years later. My dad and his buddies built them “after work”.

    I don’t believe that the houses I mentioned are going to tumble down into dust but I firmly believe that they are going to have structural problems pop up in a fairly short time. Construction is a skilled trade. You can learn it by working under guys who know what they are doing, but that requires being able to communicate with each other, probably read some things (I was stunned at the “documentation” that I got when we built our house), and continuity, that is, being able to carry forward what you learn day to day and apply it. If you don’t have this, you could have problems. As I said, you don’t get that picking up workers in front of the 7-11.

    People are going to discover that a great many of those $600,000+ homes aren’t what they were cracked up to be. I have been hearing stories for years – a bit of paint, wallpaper and paneling hide quite a bit of cut-corner work. And builders who aren’t too scrupulously honest while building the house aren’t going to be too scrupulous about fixing what goes wrong. In fact, if you look at most contracts, you’ll find that what goes wrong after a year or so isn’t their problem. However if you find yourself with a NEW house that doesn’t meet code when the problems start popping up a couple of years down the road, it could be YOUR problem.

    Down here, that’s no big issue. We are simple. Build a lousy house, get a lousy reputation. That matters in a small community. In NoVA, who’d know? The builder could even be working under a new name – and as a new company.

  19. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde


    Don’t get me wrong, I agree completely.

    This place was built out of 2×4’s that are actually 2×4, not 1.5 x 3.

    And they are Oak. You have to drill a hole to drive a nail. When this place was built, it was done before electricity was available here. You can see evidence of a lot of (rather crude) hand work.

    This is the third house built here, after the first two burned down, all on the same foundation. Yet, that foundation is not considered “good enough” to meet code some 2000 years later.

    I was appallled to find that it still had (operating) post and tube wiring in it when I got here.

    In a lot of ways it is a crappy and old farm house. You would not be allowed to build it today. And yet it has stood up all these years. I don’t necessarily equate that with great wormanship, because a lot of it, frankly, isnt. The documentation in our house was an 1899 calendar we found in the wall.

    It isn’t all that hard, and we make way too much out of it. Why should we have rules that require EVERY new owner to construct a house that will last 200 years? Maybe I’m 90 years old, and I just want a ten year house. Is there anybody looking at house construction requirements vs actual longevity, and whether it makes any economic sense?

    I learned basic carpentry from my father, and later worked on construction crews, and later in a boat carpentry shop. The guy who was my mentor and teacher there could not read or write, but he was a genius with wood. He frequently made the point that there are a lot more than one way to do things, and as he pointed out “most boats make it across.”

    If there are serious structural or safety flaws, I fault the designer and the inspector as much as the builder. In the boat business, we build structures half the size of a modest home that weigh a fraction as much, yet they stand up with no foundation, and they can spend days jumping up and down 15 feet. Try that with a house.

    When I compare that experience to home consttruction, I’m appalled at the waste in materials and the lack of strength. We could do a lot better and a lot cheaper, if it wasn’t for the “code”. But, without the code, someone would have to actually think about what makes sense, and what works.

    If you had something that actually didn’t meet code, wouldn’t you still have a valid complaint, assuming you could find the builder?

  20. Anonymous Avatar

    As you probably guessed, Ray, it is Deena Flinchum who posted the last comment. I keep forgeting to add my name. Sorry!

    I agree with you on the “code”. Obviously there should be certain basic standards that shouldn’t be compromised, especially on health and safety, but a lot of it is questionable. For example, when we went to final inspection, our inspector noted that we had somehow or t’uther missed the FACT that we had to have an outlet within XX feet of the last outlet in our kitchen-diningroom area. Solution: I now have an outlet on the end of my bar. I can live with that, and the builder quickly fixed it; but did I need it? No.

    Glad to hear that you were trained in construction. Being a girl, I wasn’t, and I still can’t drive a nail straight. Your house sounds really fascinating. We have friends down here who own a house from the 1800’s. I’m always surprised how cool it is in the summer with zero A/C, and it certainly seems to be solid.

    As to your question about valid complaints regarding code, I am not sure; but I can tell you that even if you are, you can spend a lot of money trying to force the builder to “comply”. This isn’t too hard to figure. The longer the delay, the more you pay your lawyer and the less likely you are to realize a true settlement, that is, one that actually makes you whole. If your expert says it will take $25,000 to make it all right, and the builder says he can do it for $2,500, what happens? Does the builder get a shot and then you if it doesn’t work? If your builder, formerly Great Good Homes is no longer in business as such but is now Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe, do you have a case against DCH? I don’t know but I’m happy not to be facing that.

  21. Anonymous Avatar

    Forgot to mention that just as builders used subcontractors to evade hiring illegals (they didn’t hire ’em; their subcontractor DID) they also use them to evade responsibility. THEY didn’t slap up that subpar construction. Their subcontractors did, so take it up with THEM, if you can find them.

    Deena Flinchum

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