Thursday, July 26, 2007


The subject of illegal immigrants is heating up all over the country. It is unclear to me just what has raised the heat recently, but certainly it has been simmering for a very long time.

When the housing boom raged here in Northern Virginia the builders all employed Hispanic labor for the landscaping, drywalling, painting, siding and roofing work, HVAC work, and just about anything else where a little skill was needed but the ability to speak English was not a prerequisite. These laborers came in droves and to their credit they worked long hours, seven days a week to build the homes. They even worked holidays. The work they did was acceptable, given that it was the builders that supplied the plans and the materials.

They kept their expenses low by living in dormitory style homes, several people to a room, and by carpooling in their trucks. As the years wore on, it was interesting to watch as the cars they drove became bigger and newer, and they started to buy their own homes. The local merchants advertised bilingually, and the media also started bilingual broadcasting. It even went so far as to cause local business to set up their phone menu systems to ask if you wanted to continue in English or Spanish. All was well until the housing bubble burst. The large number of workers was no longer needed and so many became unemployed, or under employed. But their car payments and their housing payments (bought with high interest, mortgages, and many with 100% financing and variable rate ARMs) became unsupportable. The banks and lenders started foreclosing and the foreclosure rates started to climb.

These workers were however mostly here without the aid of the legal documentation required of immigrants, but they still took advantage of the local services.

The economics made the local governments rethink their positions. Prince William County, and I believe Virginia as well, along with many other state and local governments have started to crack down on illegals.

The debate in Congress still hasn't produced a viable solution, so the state and locals have decided to do it themselves. Virginia and PWC passed laws empowering police to request citizenship documentation from people stopped "with probable cause." Those lacking such documentation will be delivered to INS for deportation. The same laws also enabled county service providers to also check for documentation, denying services to illegals and also calling INS.

Apparently the idea of a March on Washington demanding that illegals be given rights didn't sit to well with the local citizenry.

Personally I think it is ludicrous to see someone who is obviously breaking the law by entering the country illegally complaining that he is being denied his rights. Almost like the felon who tripped and broke his leg while breaking into a house suing the owner for damages. But there is hope. The TV this morning stated that in almost every state it is legal for a homeowner to use deadly force on someone who has broken into his home.

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