Costly Crackdown Doesn't Deliver but Divides

After a well-publicized crackdown on undocumented immigrants in Prince William County, the most recent report is showing poor results. Of all those arrested since the measure took effect, less than two percent have been found to be undocumented immigrants.

Fewer than 2 percent of people charged with crimes in Prince William County since the well-publicized crackdown on illegal immigration began in March have turned out to be undocumented, Police Chief Charlie T. Deane told county supervisors yesterday.

As was reported when the measures were announced:

The new measures are expected to cost $26 million over five years, and Deane has asked county officials for an additional $3 million to install video cameras in every patrol car and monitor them to ensure proper procedures are followed.

Sounds like another great use of taxpayer money.

To make matters worse, a poll measuring the level of satisfaction with the policy is divided along ethnic and racial lines.

Opinions about the police have become polarized along ethnic lines, with Hispanic residents much less satisfied than others, said Thomas M. Guterbock, the survey director.

For example, 97 percent of Hispanics were satisfied with police in 2005. This year, Hispanic satisfaction with police has decreased to 73 percent.

"This is fairly disturbing," Guterbock said, noting that the department has had high ratings in the past regardless of race and ethnicity. Guterbock said the ratings appear to have decreased because of the immigration enforcement.