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Prince William Co. Board Of Supervisors Chair Asseses President's Immigration Speech

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By Jonathan Wilson

In Virginia, the chair of Prince William County's board of supervisors has a harsh assessment of the immigration policy speech delivered by President Obama this morning.

At American University today, the president called Arizona's new law allowing local law enforcement to target illegal immigrants understandable. He also said its ill-conceived, and opens the door for racial profiling.

Prince William County Board Of Supervisors Chair Corey Stewart - who ushered in laws three years ago allowing local police in his county to enforce immigration laws - says he's sick of hearing that argument.

"That's just bogus," he says, "the reality is, since 2007, when Prince William County enacted this legislation, there has not been one substantiated claim of racial profiling."

And to the president's claim that deporting 11 million illegals is impossible, Stewart says better enforcement will solve the problem in other ways.

"What we've found in Prince William County is that as soon as you begin to enforce immigration law, people just leave the community," he says.

Stewart also fears the president is still focused on some sort of amnesty, which he says is unfair.

John Steinbach, with the Prince William-based immigrant advocacy group Mexicans Without Borders, says he was largely pleased with the speech. He says he doesn't understand why amnesty has become such a bad word for conservatives.

"Reagan was a conservative Republican, and there was a general amnesty in 1986--the sky did not fall," he says.

Steinbach is optimistic the president can get something done on immigration in the next year or so.

Stewart says the speech is another sign to state and local governments that they'll have to deal with illegal immigration on their own.

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