Immigration sense

By OTHER VIEWS, Washington Post
Published August 30, 2007

The little town of Manassas Park in Virginia is an unassuming place - not the sort of town you'd necessarily expect to take a courageous stand on illegal immigration. Yet that's exactly what it's done.

As an enclave of mostly affordable housing in pricey northern Virginia, Manassas Park has attracted many Hispanic immigrants, and as a result the city, population 13,500, has become majority minority.

Manassas Park is bounded on all sides by Prince William County, which has joined the nationwide rush to hound illegal immigrants by denying them public services and siccing the police on them. Prince William's neighbor to the north, Loudoun County, has done the same. But Manassas Park is refusing to be bullied into joining in the immigrant-bashing.

Elected officials in Manassas Park say that they oppose illegal immigration but that stopping it is a federal responsibility. Instead, they are doing what localities should be doing: getting tough on problems often associated with illegals, such as crowded flophouses, excessive numbers of cars parked at residences and gangs. Until Congress gets serious about immigration, Manassas Park's example is a sane, sensible approach.