Last year “anti-immigrant ordinances” were one of the biggest stories on immigration in the national media. The anti-immigrants had finally found a way to beat this immigration thing DOWN. Well, several wins for us in court, the rescinding of several more ordinances, and the realization across communities that these ordinances did harm to their towns, has led to a complete 180. Most towns are no longer pushing for anti-immigrant ordinances of this type… except a few areas, most notably, Prince William County.
Throughout the early battles on anti-immigrant ordinances, many of the people on the frontlines were immigrants, their faith allies, and advocacy groups. What many people didn’t realize is that these ordinances also served to unite many latino communities across lines of class.
José Marinay wears tailored suits, plays racquetball twice a week and displays photos of family-owned racehorses in his Annandale office. For years, the Colombian-born businessman thought he had little in common with the area’s illegal immigrants, often villagers from Mexico and Central America who sleep 10 to a house and push lawn mowers or scrub pots for a living.
But the battle in Prince William County, where a measure to curb illegal immigration has thrown the Latino community into turmoil, changed his mind.
From Hazelton to Prince William Latinos have realized that these anti-immigrant ordinances don’t just target undocumented folks, they target all immigrants across class. How do we know? Well, how about the mind blowing reprts of increased hate speech and racist acts against all latinos in hazelton, documented and undocumented that flowed forth after the introduction of the ordinance? Is that enough for you?
Anti-immigrants can try and tell us that all they are against is “illegal-immigration”- bunk Some INDIVIDUALS fighting against immigrants may indeed be against “illegal immigrants” only, but as a movement the impact of anti-immigrant speech and actions certainly effects ALL people of color, not simply the undocumented. Prince William County residents have learned this the hard way.