WaPo: Herndon, Va. to 'Tighten Screws' on Illegal Immigrants

"Herndon [Va.] Could Tighten Screws on Day Laborers," reads a August 15 Metro section Washington Post headline that is only the latest example of that paper's soft stance on illegal immigration. Right off the bat staffer Sandhya Somashekhar characterized new business regulations as "inhospitable to day laborers" many of whom, of course, are not verifiably documented as legal immigrants:

Herndon officials are considering regulations to make the community inhospitable to day laborers, who have returned to sidewalks and street corners since the town shuttered a controversial job center for the mostly Hispanic workers last year.

Somashekhar later added that the new measures, including a "permitting process for homeowners to rent out rooms" are "designed to make life difficult for day laborers." The reporter then conceded that Herndon leaders are reacting to constituent complaints have about loitering day laborers:

"I'm getting a lot of pressure from my constituents to do something about those 30 guys standing on the street all the time," said Town Council member Dennis D. Husch, who proposed the new rules. "I got an e-mail from a lady that lives on the west end of Alabama Drive talking about how scared she was, how afraid she was to go out at night or to go out during the daytime because of the men just hanging out. . . . People shouldn't have to live like that."

As a liberal newspaper, the Post seldom has problems with government regulation of the economy, but it seems that where business regulation and illegal immigration butt heads, the Post seems more on the side of illegal immigrants. As I noticed on July 22 in Marc Fisher's column:

Washington Post's Marc Fisher devoted his July 22 column, "Law Reinforces Montgomery as a Nanny State" to pooh-poohing a recently-passed bill by the affluent, liberal Maryland county that borders the District of Columbia on its northwest side. Fisher leveled a charge that free-market advocates and conservative Marylanders would cheer regarding the new ordinance mandating that employers of nannies provide a written contract.

"This is a classic MoCo decision to make law as a political statement rather than as a remedy to a burning social need," Fisher complained, noting that "conditions for domestic workers in Montgomery are considerably better than in many other places."

What's more, if nannies don't like their work environment, "the proper remedy" would be "to quit and find other work," Fisher argued.

Sounds pretty conservative for a WaPo columnist, so what's the catch? Well, one of Fisher's qualms with the law's development was how it might make Montgomery County seem hostile to illegal immigrants.

Immigration Washington Post Sandhya Somashekhar