For a while, it looked like the people of Prince William County, VA were serious.
The Board of Supervisors there appeared poised to demonstrate to that local government can do more to address the problem of illegal immigration. They had already moved to cut funding of public services to illegal immigrants, and to beef-up police resources, last July.
Then, the board voted unanimously to support a new policy that increases “residency checks,” and seeks to improve and streamline cooperation between the county, and federal immigration authorities.
However, when it came time to vote last week on budgeting the $14.2 million estimated to be necessary to actually put the new policy into action, the board voted instead to revisit the “funding issue” at a later date.
In essence, the board prepped for the race; they had the right equipment on; they had stretched, and were ready to run, and were lined-up at the starting block. And when the opening gun sounded, they took a step backward.
As one might expect, residents in Prince William County were furious. Some were threatening to “re-call” board members. Others offered to take-up donations to help the county fund the new policy. At best there was tremendous disappointment, at worst, outrage.
In the midst of it all was great speculation that, prior to the vote, members of the board had been listening to local business owners, business owners who were advising against the implementation of the new policy. Unfortunately, this speculation seemed to turn the wrath of some residents on the business owners themselves.
But why would business owners in Prince William County - - or anywhere else - - object to more stringent policing of illegal immigration? Such a stance immediately raises suspicions in the minds of many, and implies a level of guilt, as though business owners are necessarily reliant for their survival on “cheap labor,” and are willing to compromise federal law for their own selfish survival.
But to immediately view business owners with such cynicism is wrong, and can, more often than not, be inaccurate. Further, scenarios like these do not point to problems with business owners themselves, so much as they point to problems with federal law.
Imagine being an owner and operator of, say, a single dry cleaning shop, in Prince William County. And imagine the law enforcement agencies in your county “cracking down” on the presence of illegal immigrants.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.