WOODBRIDGE,VA (WUSA) --- "It's great news for Prince William County. It's great news for Arizona," proclaimed County Executive Corey Stewart on Monday after the United States Supreme Court upheld a key provision of Arizona's law allowing police to check whether those stopped or arrested are in the United States legally.
Stewart has led a county campaign to crack down on immigrants who don't have a legal right to be in the country and was a driver of the county legislation that now requires police to check on the immigration status of anyone arrested there.
"The High Court has upheld the most important provisions of the Arizona law and, in fact, that provision of the Arizona law was modeled after Prince William County's successful ordinance in 2007, so we're delighted," Stewart told 9News Now reporter Bruce Leshan.
"No one in Prince William County is judged on the color of their skin or what language they speak, or anything like that.
"What we do is we check the immigration status of every single person that is arrested, and we haven't had a single case of racial profiling and, if Arizona does it right, there won't be any racial profiling with regard to any implementation of their law either," he said.
The Supreme Court tossed out some provisions of the Arizona law: those allowing arrest for applying for a job if one is in the country illegally, or for failing to carry identification papers.
Prince William County is divided on the question of checking the immigration status of those coming into contact with police.
"I think that's probably one of the things that has hurt the economy here in Prince William County," said resident Neri Ortiz, a naturalized citizen originally from Guatemala.
"Ever since Prince William County has started something like that, basically, a lot of the population has left from the county, and that has affected tremendously the economy here, the local economy," Ortiz said.
Stewart estimates that 12 thousand persons have left the county since the law took effect, and claims that has reduced the crime rate in the county, though statistics do not convincingly document the degree of decline attributable to that loss of population.