Northern Virginia Suburbs Adopt Anti-Immigrant Ordinances

Last week, Prince William County, Virginia passed an ordinance to crack down on undocumented immigrants by denying them government services, citing what resolution sponsor John Stirrup called “economic hardship and lawlessness” in the affluent D.C. exurb. “Left unchecked, illegal immigration will almost certainly put our county on a downward spiral, similar to the patterns to be found in the Third World countries these illegal immigrants left,” Stirrup wrote, urging other localities to follow in his suit in reviving the Hazleton-style ordinances of last year. Politicians in nearby counties expressed interest.

Now another Northern Virginia exurb, Loudoun County, has adopted a similar anti-immigrant resolution. Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, main sponsor of the legislation, said, “We need help in Loudoun. We are struggling. We are a small county, and we can’t handle the hordes that are coming here and using up our services.”

Although Loudoun, which is the wealthiest county in the nation, has had a population surge of almost 60 percent since 2000, few of these new residents are immigrants, leading one to wonder about these “hordes” which Delgaudio claims are exacting “a greater and greater toll.”

But Supervisor Delgaudio has a long history of colorful hyperbole, dating back the 1980s and his Republican activism through his right-wing non-profit group, Public Advocate of the United States. Delgaudio specialized in what he called “street theater,” or “premeditated hysteria,” in which he would organize protests where his compatriots, often in costume, would sing or perform some ironic stunt – on rare occasions, fooling local media into thinking that, for example, “Pornographers Against Helms” was a bona fide organization attempting to show support for a congressman who voted to fund the National Endowment for the Arts.

Others highlights from Delgaudio’s thespian career:

  • 1987: To support the far-right Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, organized a “Criminals Against Bork” rally.
  • 1988: In Cleveland, “Criminals for Dukakis and [Ohio Sen. Howard] Metzenbaum.” In Nebraska, “Deserters and Draft Dodgers for Dukakis and [Sen. Bob] Kerrey.” Etc.
  • 1989: “Ted Kennedy Swim Team,” in scuba gear, diving into the Senate fountain.
  • 1996: “Degenerate Organization for the Normalization of Kinky Extra-species Yearnings (D.O.N.K.E.Y.)”: Protested same-sex marriage by acting out a marriage between a man and a donkey. “The same argument used by so-called gay rights groups today will result in extra-species marriage tomorrow,” said Delgaudio.
  • 1998: “Clinton Snow Job Advisory Squad,” wearing winter clothes in August, shouting “You’re Satan!” at James Carville in front of the White House.
  • 1998: “Congress should designate the public practice and promotion of homosexuality as a federal hate crime.”
  • 2000: “Committee to Impeach the President Again.” Plus: ” Kennedy Thought Control Police,” “Clinton Marriage Tax Reform Squad,” “Buddhists for Al Gore,” “Flashers for Clinton” and “Arkansas Pest-Control Squad.”

Delgaudio’s direct-mail strategy has been less flamboyant, if no less creative: Under official-looking letterhead in 1990, he wrote, “As Public Advocate, it is my responsibility to let taxpayers know how their money is being spent. … Congress is rewarding the Homosexual Pornographers with our tax money.” In 1991: “[A]s homosexuals die off due to AIDs [sic], the remaining AIDs carriers, prey on children to replenish the ‘Homosexual Community.’” 1993: “Homosexual computer experts have been invited to take over the White House Communications Office.”