August 2nd, 2007
The Prince William County Human Rights Commission has taken it upon themselves to review the resolution adopted by the Board of County Supervisors on July 10 at the behest of several fringe organizations and has been conducting unlawful hearings. Help Save Manassas testified before the Human Rights Commission on August 1st and alterted them to our concerns, which they summarily dismissed. The following day Help Save Manassas called on County Executive Craig Gerhart to halt these hearings, and issued a press release.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HELP SAVE MANASSAS DEMANDS HALT TO UNLAWFUL HEARINGS; THREATENS LEGAL ACTION
Contact: Greg Letiecq, email@example.com
Manassas, Virginia: Help Save Manassas, a grassroots issue advocacy organization of the citizens and legal residents of Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park demanded a halt to the hearings being conducted by the Immigration Committee of the Prince William County Human Rights Commission alleging procedural concerns regarding these hearings as well as a lack of statutory authority for the Human Rights Commission to conduct them. In a letter to Prince William County Executive Craig Gerhart, Help Save Manassas President Greg Letiecq enumerated nine separate violations of law or county policy, demanded that these unlawful hearings be terminated, and advised the county executive that Help Save Manassas may initiate legal action within fourteen days if these hearings are allowed to continue.
"The credibility of the Human Rights Commission is clearly at stake here", commented Greg Letiecq, "if they continue to recklessly violate the law in an attempt to provide judicial oversight of legislation passed by the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, the ability of this commission to perform it's legitimate functions are at risk. We need to ensure that the Human Rights Commission adheres to the law and remains focused on it's core responsibilities, which are vital to the public interest."
The Human Rights Commission's Immigration Committee commenced hearings regarding Resolution 07-609 on July 18th, with testimony by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, followed by the Woodbridge Worker's Committee on July 25, both which were invited by the committee. Concerned citizens, including Help Save Manassas Legislative Director Maureen Wood asked that additional organizations, other than only those who have expressed concerns about this resolution be invited. On August 1st, Help Save Manassas provided testimony and criticized the Committee for departing from it's statutory authority, failing to provide adequate public notice, and the lack of a clearly stated legal purpose for conducting these hearings.
"In the discussion that followed, the chairman of the Committee ridiculously asserted that he was directed by the County Executive to conduct these hearings in order to determine what statutory benefits the Human Rights Commission may legally provide to illegal aliens, when in fact the Human Rights Commission has no legal power to provide statutory benefits to anyone in Prince William County," Greg Letiecq asserted. "The Committee is not being truthful with the public about the purpose, conduct or intended result of these hearings and clearly is floundering to justify it's departure from it's statutory purpose, powers and authority."
The statement of Help Save Manassas provided to the Immigration Committee may be found at http://www.helpsavemanassas.org/pwchrc.php
The complaint to County Executive Craig Gerhart may be found at http://www.helpsavemanassas.org/docs/hrccomplaint.pdf.