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Did Help Save Manassas Inspire Another National Debate?

By Greg L | 28 February 2008 | National Politics, Illegal Aliens | 26 Comments

We are inspiring a nation.  That’s a key take-away from a recent Cal Thomas op-ed that appeared in today’s Orlando Sentinel, which praises Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell for his actions to identify and deport over 170 criminal alien sex offenders that either had been released from prison and placed on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry, or under current state policy scheduled to do so.  Thomas references two jurisdictions which helped get the ball rolling on crackdowns against criminal alien offenders, and they are Manassas, and Prince William County.

Cal Thomas isn’t a local guy, so he’s picking all this up from what has been reported in the newspapers so he’s missing a few elements in his timeline here.  He missed, for example, that the Prince William County Adult Detention Center actually started implementing the Section 287(g) Program last summer, and has already identified and processed for deportation hundreds of criminal alien offenders.  That’s OK.  But he’s right in suggesting that what happened in Prince William County and Manassas has helped raise the profile of this issue, get it to the attention of Bob McDonnell, and his action to address this is now going to inspire discussions across the nation about the wisdom of releasing convicted sex offenders back into our communities that have no legal right to reside in the United States.  Just as localities across the nation started discussing what they could do to combat the effects of the unlawful presence of illegal aliens after this summer’s adoption by Prince William County of the Rule of Law Resolution, now states and localities are talking about criminal alien sex offenders and the Section 287(g) Program.

So who raised this issue about criminal alien sex offenders in the first place?  Help Save Manassas.  Legislative Director Maureen Wood noticed a potentially troubling pattern in the Virginia Sex Offender Registry, and Help Save Manassas started making inquiries about what was being done to ensure that these convicted criminals were being screened.  The answer came back that there was no systematic screening process for these criminals, and nothing was in place to identify illegal aliens among this population of convicted criminals.  Help Save Manassas started raising this issue before elected bodies last summer, and I’ve been talking about it on this website for some time now.  It’s quite possible that the Attorney General independently figured out there was a problem here and didn’t pick the idea up from Help Save Manassas, but if he did get a hint from elsewhere about this disturbing problem, the only people raising this issue before McDonnell’s announcement last week was Help Save Manassas, and more recently the umbrella organization it is a member of, Save The Old Dominion.

That’s the intent of this “bottom-up” activist model.  Build success at the local level, and raise issues that will get traction at the state and federal levels.  Inspire other localities to replicate your success, and build coalitions of local organizations that can effect policy reforms at the state level.  It seems to be working.

There is no right to come to America, but there is an obligation to obey the same laws everyone else has to obey or suffer the consequences. Virginia and at least two of its jurisdictions are onto something. Other states and localities might wish to consider a similar approach.

The federal government seems to be getting the message. Perhaps shamed by Virginia, immigration officials, according to the Washington Post, are now actively “scouring jails and courts nationwide” to identify immigrants who qualify for deportation. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reports that in a 12-month period ending last Sept. 30, “it placed 164,000 criminals in deportation proceedings,” an increase from the 64,000 the agency identified and placed in deportation proceedings the previous year. ICE “estimates the number will rise to 200,000 this year.”

All it seems to take to get things moving are some solid policy arguments, and people who are willing to help promote them.  With some more policy warriors out there, we might even be able to get this moving a bit faster, since turning this ship around seems to require an extraordinary effort and time we really don’t have to spare.  We really should have had this problem resolved ten years ago, and we really don’t have ten more years to fix this.

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  1. Advocator said on 28 Feb 2008 at 1:12 pm:
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    While we should all be prospective about this problem, it behooves us every now and then to be retrospective, and consider who should have foreseen this problem, recognized this problem, and done something about the problem over the last 10 years. I have always maintained it should have been our elected representatives at the federal level. In this area, that means Frank Wolf, Tom Davis, John Warner, and George Allen. In my opinion, this area’s (and the Nations) problems with this issue can be laid at the feet of that infamous Gang of Four. And to you die hard, yellow dog Republicans who refuse to face up to that fact - I quote the lady from the Oct 14th marathon citizens’ time - you can kiss my ass.

  2. park'd said on 28 Feb 2008 at 1:22 pm:
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    100% agreed—-^

  3. The Patriot (Got E-Verify?) said on 28 Feb 2008 at 1:28 pm:
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    “It is the time of the Latino, your time to step up, your time to take this country over,” Lopez said, eliciting applause. “But si se puede doesn’t mean anything unless you go out and make it happen.”

    Will this nonsense ever stop!?!

  4. The Patriot (Got E-Verify?) said on 28 Feb 2008 at 2:08 pm:
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    “MUSLIM university students want lectures to be rescheduled to fit in with prayer timetables and separate male and female eating and recreational areas established on Australian campuses.”

    This is all part of the “cultural jihad”. This must be addressed too! We don’t need these things happening here.

  5. Andrew Flusche, Virginia Lawyer said on 28 Feb 2008 at 2:57 pm:
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    Very good explanation of the “bottom up” activism model. The same principles can be used for almost any cause. It’s a really powerful tool!

  6. Dolph said on 28 Feb 2008 at 3:06 pm:
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    FYI, Cal Thomas used to be a home boy. He lived in Manassas. I have no idea where he lives now, but he does have roots in Manassas.

  7. k. o'toole said on 28 Feb 2008 at 3:07 pm:
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    Can’t the Bob McDonnell model which addressed the deportation of sex offenders, also be used for repeat illegal alien offenders who are DUI or driving without a license, or theft, or walking away from mortgages after trashing homes in our neighborhoods? Let’s keep this momentum going!

  8. Vigilant1 said on 28 Feb 2008 at 3:28 pm:
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    Didn’t Cal Thomas live in Manassas City a few years ago?

  9. Vigilant1 said on 28 Feb 2008 at 3:33 pm:
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    The Patriot (Got E-Verify?) said on 28 Feb 2008 at 2:08 pm:

    If you will recall, it has already started here. Remember the taxi drivers at Dulles a few months ago wanting their own space for prayer and washing? They got it, didn’t they?

  10. Poor Richard said on 28 Feb 2008 at 3:34 pm:
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    Use to see and briefly speak with Cal Thomas at the
    Old Town Manassas Post Office - perhaps 5-6 years ago.
    A good guy.
    He makes a very valid point in this piece. Who
    wouldn’t be in favor of deporting criminal illegal aliens?
    And we aren’t sending them to a Siberia or Devil’s Island -
    but home. What is so earth shaking terrible about that -
    being sent home? Good grief.

  11. Joe Budzinski said on 28 Feb 2008 at 5:50 pm:
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    Cal Thomas is local, he attends 4th Presbyterian Church in Bethesda.

    Nice work, Help Save Manassas!

  12. Had to Say said on 28 Feb 2008 at 7:31 pm:
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    I went on the Va. sex offender registry and look what I found in the 20110 zip. Everyone needs to go on the website and see how many predators’ are in our communities. I wonder if the following unknown addresses are illegal’s? Anyone know the one on Bayberry?




    GARCIA, WALTER 8417 MCKENZIE CIRCLE MANASSAS FAIRFAX CO VA 20110 — this person is wanted.


    Thank God that there are only 3 in the 20110 area that are unknown or wanted

  13. Mr. Anon said on 28 Feb 2008 at 9:23 pm:
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    Your not implying this is Bayberry Resident, are you??

    That would be a low blow.

  14. Mr. Anon said on 28 Feb 2008 at 9:26 pm:
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    By the way, Advocator, your ignorant and crass comment did not go unoticed. You are a person of low character; in other words a cad. I assume you are a male, since I doubt most women would stoop to the level you did.

  15. Had to Say said on 28 Feb 2008 at 11:19 pm:
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    Mr. Anon said on 28 Feb 2008 at 9:23 pm:
    “Your not implying this is Bayberry Resident, are you??”

    No. Just that if they live on Bayberry st. you might want to be extra careful.

  16. Sigmund said on 29 Feb 2008 at 6:58 am:
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    Inspired a nation! You are the last one to realize that you are the laughingstock of the county and you clearly suffer from delusions of granduer. Run don’t walk to the nearest mental health clinic. The public ones have to take you.

  17. Rob Smalls (Inspiration of the BVBL 40K Post) said on 29 Feb 2008 at 7:54 am:
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    Who precisely is laughing when you refer to this “laughingstock”?

  18. Mr. Anon said on 29 Feb 2008 at 8:46 am:
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    Simund Fraud is doing some psychoanalysis. Next he’ll want to hear about Greg’s relationship with his mother.

    I don’t see anyone laughing, but I do see folks cheering. Maybe he’s talking about Montgomery or Arlington County. I think the laughter will change to tears as they take on the illegal aliens leaving PWC as the gravy train disappears.

  19. /\/\3|)iç 64 (Winner of the BVBL 40k and 50k post award) said on 29 Feb 2008 at 9:50 am:
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    Montgomery and Arlington want to be sanctuary counties right now probably because not many ILLEGAL aliens could afford to live there and hadn’t settled. We only have a few so a few more won’t hurt. Wait until their citizens have to pay increased taxes or their neighborhoods start to go down hill, we will then hear the cries of deport them all!!

  20. Scott said on 29 Feb 2008 at 6:21 pm:
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    Illegals are fleeing Arizona in very high numbers. Their situation proves that if you punish those who employ illegals, they go away, This article is interesting on several fronts:

    PHOENIX (AP) - Parents are pulling students out of school. Construction workers are abandoning their jobs. Families are hastily moving out of apartments.

    Two months after Arizona enacted a law punishing employers who hire illegal immigrants, the law is already achieving one of its goals: Scores of immigrants are fleeing to other states or back to their Latin American homelands.

    Gaby Espinoza, who has been unemployed since November, is among those affected. She gave up looking for a job because of the law and may have to return to Mexico.

    Espinoza’s husband works here legally, but the law means that employers must ask her for papers, and she faces the daily fear of being deported.

    “There’s no work over there in Mexico,” said Espinoza, who has three U.S.-born children. “People there live so poorly. Here, my kids have health insurance and Medicare. Over there, there’s nothing.”

    Jose Perez Leon, a laborer in Phoenix who wants to return to his home in Mexico City, said jobs were plentiful when he came to Arizona about 18 months ago but began to dry up in the last three months.

    “I don’t like it here anymore because of everything that’s happening,” he said. “There’s no work.”

    The Republican-controlled Legislature and Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano approved the law last summer out of frustration with federal efforts to curb illegal immigration. It took effect Jan. 1.

    The law suspends or revokes the business licenses of violators and was intended to reduce the economic incentive for immigrants to sneak across the border. Illegal immigrants account for an estimated one in 10 workers in Arizona, which is the nation’s busiest gateway for illegal immigration.

    Business groups have challenged the law. While awaiting a ruling, prosecutors agreed to hold off bringing cases to court until at least March 1.

    Republican state Rep. Russell Pearce designed the law to reduce spending on educating and providing health care for illegal immigrants and their families, and to encourage them to leave Arizona.

    “Why in the world do (illegal immigrants) think they have a right to break the law? And we are the bad guys for insisting that the law be enforced? The public doesn’t agree with that,” Pearce said.

    Many school officials believe the law has played a role in falling enrollment. The state’s struggling economy and slumping housing market are other factors. Several districts reported losing more than 100 students at least in part because of the law.

    The Isaac School District in central Phoenix, with a student body that is 96 percent Hispanic, lost 500 students, said district spokesman Abedon Fimbres.

    The departure of so many students upsets people like Jackie Doerr, who is principal at Andalucia Primary School, which is in a separate district in west Phoenix. She said teachers had made progress teaching English to many of the children.

    “They have to leave and start all over again. It’s just so frustrating when you see how far they have come,” Doerr said. “They are probably going to lose it, especially if they go back to Mexico. They are definitely going to have problems.”

    The law has also contributed to rising vacancies in Phoenix. The slow economy and a market overloaded with rental homes have exacerbated the problem, said Terry Feinberg, president of the Arizona Multihousing Association, a rental housing industry group.

    Even so, property managers have reported that the law has also driven away Hispanics who are legally in the country, Feinberg said.

    The construction industry says some of its workers are leaving, too, for California, Nevada, Colorado or Texas.

    Veronica Avalos, an illegal immigrant who has lived in Arizona for 13 years, has been caring for her three children alone since January. Her husband’s Arizona employer closed its doors. He now works in San Antonio building swimming pool decks.

    Avalos and her children plan to join him in the coming months, but she worries how the move will affect her 11-year-old son, who is partially blind and has mild mental disabilities.

    “We need to look for a school, services and programs for him. He has all those things right now,” Avalos said. “But I don’t know what will happen in Texas.”

  21. Dave in PWC said on 1 Mar 2008 at 1:09 am:
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    All the illegals need to go back to their own countries and start the movement that Americans have started all over this country to force their governments to work on job growth and better education so that those in other countries won’t want to come here illegally. Arizona is showing everyone the way it works, they will self deport. Virginia needs to step up and get with the program. I’m waiting to see what the schools say once our “rule of law” has been in effect for a few months. How many ESOL teachers will be out of jobs? I hope many of them have to find other subjects to teach.

  22. Dolph said on 1 Mar 2008 at 1:41 am:
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    Dave, many esol teachers around here have been imported from overseas. (3 year work visas) Most cannot go teach other subjects, mostly due to the restrictions of NCLB. That is probably one of its few good features.

    What is it you want to schools to say? Do you think they will be sad or glad?


    Why are children on Medicare? Does that not strike you as odd? Where did you find that article? I am not sure of its point. It mainly described breaking up families and making blind kids change schools. While that very well may be what is happening, it seems that it was written from a different point of view than one supporting fining employers.

  23. Dave in PWC said on 2 Mar 2008 at 8:27 am:
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    I guess I didn’t make myself clear on what I want the schools to say. I’d like to see what the enrollments are before and after the “rule of law” has been enforced for a few months. I’d like to see what effect it has on our county schools enrollment figures. Perhaps we won’t have to build any new schools but just move some children around to the schools that are now feeling the effects of illegals moving out of the county.

    I did not know that we import ESOL teachers. I would assume that if they are not needed then their contracts would not be renewed. Wonder if they are on contracts that run for one year and are renewable as needed for the other two years? My sister has a friend who is a HS Spanish teacher from Venezuela who is trying to get extended past the three years. I just didn’t know the program existed.

    I don’t know if the schools would be happy or sad to see the illegal or anchor babies depart the county. I would be happy to see them depart and lower our school costs as PWC tax payers.

  24. Dave in PWC said on 2 Mar 2008 at 8:28 am:
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    corr. I mean “Dolph” sorry, it’s early for me…

  25. Dolph said on 2 Mar 2008 at 1:32 pm:
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    Dave in PWC,

    That’s ok about the name. I didn’t even catch it.

    Yes, Prince William does import foreign teachers to teach all sorts of subjects. Some exchange program. After 3 years they go home. Many, but not all are ESOL. I have no idea how many this includes. I guess they would be send home or lent out to another county if PW didn’t need them. I think things would have to change a lot for that to happen though. If you look at Prince William’s vacancy list, you will see what I mean.

  26. Dave in PWC said on 3 Mar 2008 at 6:16 am:
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    I feel better if they can be lent out to Fairfax county which I’m sure will need them if what we all think is happening with our illegals moving to Fairfax. I sure didn’t want anyone to be out of work, been there done that and it’s not fun.

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