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You Can Help the City of Manassas

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AR News exclusive, Dec. 31, 2005

Recently, the city of Manassas in Northern Virginia passed an ordinance tightening the definition of what constitutes a family. The ordinance was necessary because immigrants are crowding into suburban houses and changing the atmosphere of neighborhoods. As Mayor Douglas Waldron explained, “One of the largest impacts is being felt on our once-quaint neighborhood streets, which now in many cases are littered with trash and lined with far too many vehicles due to overcrowded boarding houses and multi-family dwellings.” (Click here to find out more.)

The Washington Post’s lead editorial on Dec. 30 was a snide attack on the city and its new ordinance.

It read in part:

“Quite aside from the law’s probable unconstitutionality, it is patently bigoted.

“Like other suburban localities in this region, Manassas is undergoing a demographic shift as Hispanic immigrants, legal and undocumented, move into what were once relatively homogenous neighborhoods. Some of the immigrants share housing with their relatives to help out with the rent or mortgage — the sort of arrangement that the late Justice Powell, a proud Virginian, would recognize as part of the striving that constitutes the American dream. Some communities are welcoming, others less so; in Manassas, city officials decided that the best way to deal with the immigrants was to harass them.


“Ostensibly, the city’s purpose is to address problems of crowding, parking and garbage arising from overlarge households. But don’t be fooled. Large Anglo families whose grown, live-at-home children might all park on the street or overstuff the garbage bins have nothing to fear. Rather, city inspectors charged with enforcing the new law are responding to complaints, and the complaints are almost invariably about Hispanics households — not necessarily ones that are overcrowded. In the law’s conception and enforcement, there is blatant racial skewing. The idea in changing the law’s definition of a family was “to make sure these peripheral people start to be winnowed out,” Brian Smith, the city’s chief building official, told The Post.

“Leave aside the fact that America was founded by people then considered “peripheral,” and that equally “peripheral people” — immigrants — have fought its wars, built its railways, populated its greatest cities and manned its mightiest industries.”

Please write to the Mayor Douglas Waldron and the city council of Manassas at the this address (, telling them you support their right to regulate housing in the interests of Americans.

(Posted on December 31, 2005)

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