A group opposed to illegal immigration has asked Prince William officials to halt the county Human Rights Commission’s review of a recently adopted resolution limiting services to illegal aliens.
Help Save Manassas President Greg Letiecq said the county’s nine-member Human Rights Commission does not have the authority to hold 10 scheduled meetings discussing the resolution, which would also toughen local immigration enforcement.
“There’s a whole host of problems with it,” Mr. Letiecq said. “One is that this appointed [commission] does not have the legal power to review decisions by an elected body, which, despite all their statements to the contrary, is exactly what they’re trying to do.”
In a letter Thursday, Mr. Letiecq asked County Executive Craig S. Gerhart to halt the commission’s immigration committee meetings, which he says violate nine provisions of county code, including the circumstances under which the commission may conduct public hearings.
Mr. Gerhart on Friday declined to say whether he planned to stop the meetings. He said he first wants to respond to Mr. Letiecq’s letter before discussing his plans.
The Human Rights Commission is charged with ensuring that county laws are consistent with the county code’s anti-discrimination policies. The commission’s decisions are not binding, and it does not have the authority to overturn decisions of the Board of County Supervisors.
“There has to be a credible violation of the law — specifically unlawful discrimination,” Mr. Letiecq said. “It’s entirely premature to evaluate complaints of discrimination before they occur.”
“It was the commission’s opinion at the time that they didn’t know enough about the resolution,” she said. “This is just a standing committee that the commission set up as a piece of education on the resolution.”
“No formal charges have been brought by any entity,” Mrs. Aggrey said. “The commission does not intend to bring up formal charges.”
The committee has invited different groups — both in favor of and against the resolution — to speak at the meetings, she said.
Mr. Letiecq said most of the groups that have spoken at the committee’s first three meetings were opposed to the resolution and that his group was not invited to speak until they complained that their views were not being heard.
“Until we chimed in, the organizations that they selected to testify were exclusively those that had voiced dissent with the supervisors’ decision,” he said.