Posted by Dupray on 10 July, 2008 at 9:35 am. 19 comments already!

It has been one year since Prince William County, Virginia began its crackdown on illegals. Many have fled to Maryland, a very Blue sanctuary state. Though Marylanders don’t like it, their lawmakers refuse to respond to the problem. The self-deportation by Hispanics from the “Devil’s County,” or as they call it in Spanish, Condado del Diablo, was noted back in March by the Washington Post in a series of stories.

Today’s Washington Post gives us an update in an article entitled “A Hispanic Population in Decline.” Gotta love this first part. It seems not all people fully appreciate the great multi-cultural influences that diversity brings to a neighborhood.

The family that planted corn in the front yard of their $500,000 home is gone from Carrie Oliver’s street. So are the neighbors who drilled holes into the trees to string up a hammock.

Oliver’s list goes on: The loud music. The beer bottles. The littered diapers. All gone. When she and her husband, Ron, went for walks in their Manassas area neighborhood, she would take a trash bag and he would carry a handgun. No more. “So much has changed,” she said in a gush of relief, standing with her husband on a warm summer evening recently outside a Costco store.

Corn stalks and handguns. What a neat blending of cultures.

One thing is clear though, Hispanics are leaving.

Anecdotes of the trend outstrip hard statistical evidence, yet there are clear signs that the county’s Latino population has reversed its pace of rapid growth. County officials said there are 4,000 to 7,000 vacant homes in the county. Trustee notices fill the classified section of area newspapers, chronicling the steady, staggering forfeiture of properties by homeowners with Hispanic surnames such as Mendez, Lozano, Medina and Rodriguez.

While this is causing a drop in home values, some people think that quality of life is paramount to home values. After all, no home is worth its former value after the neighborhood goes to hell in a handbasket.

That decrease — home prices in some areas have fallen by half — is well worth the improvement in quality of life, according to the most ardent supporters of the county’s get-tough approach.

“We have far less residential overcrowding, and that was driving people crazy,” said Greg Letiecq, a blogger and president of Help Save Manassas. He helped write the county’s policy and has been its most vocal champion. “We’d much rather live next door to a vacant house,” he said, speaking for his members at a recent Help Save Manassas meeting.

“With an empty house, there’s hope that the house is going to have somebody move into it that’s going to be a good neighbor, rather than an overcrowded house that is a neighbor from hell,” Letiecq said, adding that his Manassas area home has dropped $100,000 in value in the past year.

Another big factor is law enforcement’s focus on catching illegal immigrant criminals.

While some Hispanic immigrants have walked away from their homes, others have left the county in the custody of federal agents. County jail officials have turned over 757 illegal immigrant inmates to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in the past year through an agreement that county supervisors approved as part of the crackdown.

Police have referred more than 300 additional suspects to the immigration and customs branch since March, when the county’s patrol officers began screening for residency status.

Catching illegal immigrants has made Prince William safer, said Corey A. Stewart (R-At-Large), chairman of the board of county supervisors said. Stewart also said the county’s policies have led to “a plummeting of the crime rate.”

When Prince William County’s program levels off, and the illegals have largely relocated to Fairfax, Arlington, and Alexandria, or to Maryland (all controlled by Democrats), the quality of life will improve, property values will rebound, and maybe folks won’t have to watch their neighbors harvest corn from the front yard.

Also find Bill Dupray at The Patriot Room

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