Immigrants March Against County Policies After Alleged Police Brutality

Year-old policy allows local police to enforce federal immigration law

MANASSAS PARK, Va. -- Immigrants in Prince William County marched Monday to protest county policies they said have torn apart families, caused racial tension and made them fearful of reporting crimes.

More than 100 people turned out for a March organized by Mexicans Without Borders Monday afternoon from a Manassas Park shopping center to the county courthouse.

Protesters called on lawmakers to rescind a nearly year-old policy that, in part, allows local police to enforce federal immigration law, protesters said. The policy, which drew national attention, has torn apart families and created tension between Hispanic immigrants and police.

"People are afraid to be on the streets. There is harassment and persecution against Latinos and immigrants," protest organizer Roberto Juarez Nava.

Organizers also demanded justice for a woman who said she was beaten by a police officer earlier this month because she's Hispanic and doesn't speak English.

Agueda Dominguez, a legal resident of the United States, claims she was struck in the face and pepper sprayed by a Manassas Park Police officer earlier this month when he pulled her over for a broken tail light.   She says the officer hit her after she refused to sign a summons because she could not read English.  Police claim she resisted arrest.  An investigation into the incident is under way.

"My family and I are suffering a great deal," Dominguez told the crowd Monday.

Protesters say they plan to hold more demonstrations in the future.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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