Herndon's Backwards Step

In 2005, Mayor Michael L. O'Reilly of Herndon, a small municipality in Fairfax County Virginia, established a day-laborer center to allow workers and employers a central gathering and employment site. It was a sensible and forward-looking measure that bolstered the local economy and aided public safety.

Herndon was a model for enacting local solutions to a complex economic, political and humanitarian issue.

So how did voters of Herndon thank Mayor O'Reilly for his courage and leadership?

They voted out him and his two town council allies out of office and installed an anti-Latino immigrant mayor and council majority.

The new mayor Stephen J. DeBenedittis and council allies (with tactical support from anti-immigrant groups like the Minute Men) voted yesterday to close the day-laborer center. The workers, employers and residents will now be returned to the pre-laborer center chaos.

Is this leadership?

BTW: Who exactly does DeBenedittis represent? In a town of 28, 000 people--40% of whom are immigrants--DeBenedittis won election with just 1,363 votes, or less than 5% of Herndon's residents.

Is the solution to Herndon's mess not obvious?

Related articles:

Sending the Wrong Message on Immigrants

Herndon to Shut Down Center for Day Laborers

Herndon labor ordinance struck down by judge

Hypocrisy in Herndon

The Face of Local Counties Shifts With Surge in Minorities

Herndon Picked for ICE Program
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