Local Ordinances Abound in Xenophobia

October 17th, 2007

Across the country, local governments are cracking down on illegal immigration and passing xenophobic anti-immigrant ordinances, which will only drive the illegal immigrant population further into the shadows.  The effect of such legislation will be the polar opposite of that intended by the sponsors – to reduce crime.  Instead, illegal immigrants will become even more loathe to report rape, abuse and other crimes for fear of being deported. 

For example, in Prince William County, VA, lawmakers unanimously approved one of the toughest local crackdowns on illegal immigration.  According to the Washington Post, “The measures would deny certain county services to illegal immigrants, including business licenses, drug counseling, housing assistance and some services for the elderly. The county Board of Supervisors also gave police some funding to help them check the immigration status of anyone accused of breaking a law if an officer suspects the person is an illegal immigrant.”

Opponents of these anti-immigrant ordinances are fighting them on equal protection grounds as well as on the basis of a lack of jurisdiction, stating that immigration law is governed by federal law.  Already, they have won with some of these arguments.  Let’s hope that they continue to challenge such discriminatory legislation and succeed.