MALDEF Opposes Proposal In Virginia's Prince William County To Check Immigration And Citizenship Status

Provisions targeting undocumented immigrants would lead to local immigration enforcement

July 10, 2007

ATLANTA, GA- Today, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the leading national Latino legal organization, called upon the Prince William County, VA Board of Supervisors to reject a proposal that would require county officials to check the immigration and citizenship status of county residents and potentially deny services, including libraries, public health and schools.

The proposal conflicts with U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding public education and the federal government’s role in immigration law enforcement. “If passed, the county, without funding, training or expertise, would try to take on a job that even the federal government has not been successful at doing. It will be costly in terms of dollars and community harmony,” stated John Trasviña, MALDEF President and General Counsel.

“The Board’s purported justification for this resolution is that undocumented newcomers are causing ‘lawlessness’. This justification is disproven by the County’s own records. While the Latino population in the County has been increasing, crime rates have consistently been decreasing over the past several years according to the County’s 2006 crime statistics,” stated Elise Shore, MALDEF Southeast Regional Counsel. “The assertion that undocumented immigrants are taking advantage of county services in droves is unfounded. Immigrants come here to work, not to take benefits. If Prince William County is like other places, county officials will find that undocumented immigrants actually pay a great deal towards county services in taxes and a massive verification system will cost far more than it saves,” added Shore.

MALDEF will continue to work with its partners in the community to fight against anti-immigrant measures such as this Resolution.

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund