Immigrants Prepare Boycotts, Rally To Protest County Resolution

Dan Genz, DC Examiner, August 1, 2007

Hispanic immigrants throughout Prince William County are preparing an economic boycott, work stoppage and massive rally to protest last month’s resolution that sought to deport and deny some government services to illegal residents.

Hispanic immigrant groups are hoping a strong show of financial muscle can help shape public opinion.

“This will show what it would be like without us,” said Francisco Vargas, the owner of Blanca’s Gift Shop in Manassas.

Boycott supporters say Prince William County’s resolution is an attack on the county’s more than 60,000 Hispanic immigrants.

“The effect of this resolution is to instill in the Latino community an atmosphere of terror, desperation and a feeling of discrimination,” the group said in a statement.

A 10-step plan to oppose the resolution includes a boycott of all Prince William County businesses not owned by immigrants on Aug. 27 through Sept. 3, a march and rally Sept. 2, and a labor strike Oct. 9, organizer Ricardo Juarez said.

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Organizers from various immigrant support groups said immigrants, legal and illegal, fear they will face ethnic profiling in every dealing with the government, from the classroom to traffic enforcement.

If the boycott succeeds, coordinator Yolanda Lemus said, “this will give voice to the immigrant community through a show of strength.”

At a glance

» Aug. 27 to Sept. 3: Economic boycott

» Sept. 2: March and rally

» Sept. 11: Official meeting on police enforcement

» Oct. 2: Official meeting on county services

» Oct. 9: Work stoppage begins

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