Conservatives Clash at Briefing on Pr. William Crackdown
Federal Panelist Says Effort Was Not Based on Evidence
By Kristen Mack
Washington Post Staff Writer 
Saturday, December 15, 2007; Page B04

The chairman of a federal civil rights panel clashed yesterday with Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart over the recent crackdown on illegal immigrants approved by the board.

Linda Chavez, a conservative commentator who heads a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights panel examining whether the crackdown violates federal antidiscrimination laws, said she believed the supervisors based their action largely on anecdotal evidence of problems caused by illegal immigrants.

"Watching this, it seemed like there was little fact-finding prior to the board's consideration of this resolution. You seemed to have made up your minds [in advance]," Chavez said. "I'm talking about empirical evidence, not how people are feeling."

Stewart (R-At Large), who led the effort to curtail some county services, accused Chavez of having a "clear past and agenda here." Chavez withdrew her nomination as U.S. secretary of labor in 2001 when reports surfaced that she had employed an illegal immigrant. She said the undocumented Guatemalan woman living in her home was not an employee, but she withdrew to avoid embarrassing President Bush.
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