Friday, December 14, 2007

Prince William County, Virginia, Is this the Future of Danbury?

As Danbury continues to wait with baited breath, the next step in the debate over the Local Government's proposed enaction of the 287g ICE ACCESS program, other communities across this country have already begun to enact even more strict, and harmful laws and codes to harrass, intimidate, and drive out Immigrants from their towns.

Take for instance, bucolic Prince William County, Virginia. Where they "Treasure the Past, and the Promise of our Future" by encouraging county agencies to look for ways to deny county services to people of undocumented, or unverifiable citezenship status. Now, let's be clear here. PWC Virginia did pass this legislation. And it is some of the harshest anti immigrant legislation to date. Including provisions that police are allowed to check immigration status on the most minor of offenses (as in..littering or jaywalking), and that authorities are also welcome to check for documents before allowing access to services such as, oh.. parks, public libraries, pools, HOUSING ASSISTANCE, DRUG REHAB, SENIOR SERVICES.

Meanwhile, Mayor Mark Boughton, announced today in his State of the City address, his plan to create a special "Downtown Taskforce" with the aim of addressing challenges to the atmosphere of downtown danbury (i.e blight, etc), and also to make it mandatory for those seeking shelter at the city's New Street Shelter commit to either performing community service, or enrolling in a program where they can "better themselves". Interesting, isn't it? Now, call me a conspiracy theorist. But, just on the threshold of the city deciding whether or not to enact the 287g ICE ACCESS program here in Danbury, a program which would allow local police to conduct federal ICE duties, we also see this new policy about homeless shelters. One can conceivably imagine that in order to obtain services such as drug abuse programs, or other, that perhaps one might need to have some sort of document. It would be interesting to see whether the board of supervisors in Prince William County are counted amongst the ranks of the Mayors and County Executives for Immigration Reform, which is Mayor Mark Boughton's very own anti-immigrant hate group, only, they keep their white robes tucked in their brooks brothers suits. (By the way, Mark, you really should step beyond that oh so clinical stock photography you have on the homepage.)

The good news in all of this? Today, the U.S Commission on Civil Rights has finally come forth and announced they will be investigating these laws, and how they have been carried out thus far, to answer to claims of possible discrimination and civil rights violations since their implementation, and the people of Prince William County have been actively fighting back with protests.

Since the case of the Danbury 11 brought the idea of Civil Rights Violations by Local Law Enforcement to the forefront months ago, here in Danbury, this will be a very important case for Mayor Boughton, and his anti immigrant cronies to keep an eye on, in the coming months. Let us hope that the 287g laws are not enacted here, and that the realization that every move he makes against the immigrant community here in Danbury will be noted, and watched, and reported, makes Mayor Mark Boughton a little less trigger happy with his anti immigrant legislative dreams.

No comments: