Prince William Immigration Debate Hits Big Screen

The Prince William battle is revisited

Before there were the shoutdowns at healthcare town halls, there were protests over immigration policies in Prince William County.

Two local filmakers are putting that moment in history on film. The documentary "9500 Liberty" made its Washington premiere Thursday night at the Landmark E Street Cinema.

Using footage from the streets and Board of Supervisors meetings, the film displays the raw passions on both sides of the immigration issue. The key and controversial part of the county's policy directed police officers to check the citizenship or immigration status of criminal suspects they think might be in the country illegally.

"There was confusion and a climate of fear then among residents," director Annabel Park said.

"This is the same kind of politicized hysteria we saw at the townhall protests," director Eric Byler said.

The film portrays Police Chief Charlie Dean as the "Patriot King" of Prince William County for leading the effort to repeal the  "Probable Cause" mandate for immigration status checks.

The directors hope their film will impact immigration policy on a national level.

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