Immigrant Groups Boycott to Show Economic Power

New Resolutions Spark Unrest in Northern Virginia

Immigrant groups called for a weeklong protest of non-immigrant businesses in Prince William County, but officials are saying that the effort will have little impact.

The boycott is a protest against a resolution to deny various public services to illegal immigrants passed unanimously by the county board of supervisors in July.

In Virginia, even the first and only Latino elected to the state government, however, has proposed a crackdown on illegal immigration.

Delegate Jeff Frederick announced last week that he is drafting legislation to prohibit any form of state funding to Virginia counties, cities or towns with policies that disregard a person’s status when distributing public services.

“Providing sanctuary to illegal immigrants in essence encourages illegal immigration, and it makes Virginia a destination for illegals,” Frederick said in a written statement. “We want to stop these policies that invite people who are not legally present in the United States from coming to Virginia, and this legislation will put some teeth behind existing state law.”

John Steinbach, a spokesman for Mexicans Without Borders, a Washington, D.C.-based immigrant rights group, told reporters: “if [the County Board of Supervisors] are actually idiots enough to implement this proposal, you’re going to see an enormous economic impact. That’s the reason why the community decided to have this economic boycott, to show the economic muscle of the immigrant community.”

Some officials, however, are convinced that the immigrant population is more of a burden on the community.

“Illegal immigration is costing the taxpayers of Virginia a fortune, and it is harming the quality of life of our citizens,” Frederick said. “It’s time that we require our local governments to obey state law.”

The boycott is scheduled to conclude Sunday with a march and rally.