"Put them in a box car and ship them out" was the chilling immigration reform plan offered by one resident of Prince William County, Virginia, as recounted in 9500 Liberty, the super-timely documentary Annabel Park and Eric Byler (Charlotte Sometimes, Americanese), cofounders of the liberal Tea Party takeoff the Coffee Party.
In a bill similar to the one the U.S. Justice Department is suing Arizona over, In March, 2008, Prince William County enacted a law requiring police to check the immigration status of those they had probable cause to suspect of being undocumented. Immigrants fled the county in droves, leaving neighborhoods depopulated and setting off a wave of foreclosures and shuttered businesses. Debate over the law erupted into a local culture war between pro- and anti-immigrant activists, igniting a movement that led to the law's repeal.
Park and Byler moved from LA to Virginia to volunteer in the successful 2006 senatorial campaign of pro-immigrant candidate Jim Webb. During the debate over the "probable cause" bill, they posted sometimes-daily updates to their YouTube channel, excerpts of which appear in the film.
9500 Liberty opens Friday at Pipers Alley, 230 W. North Ave. In English with Spanish subtitles. Byler will attend the Friday and Saturday evening shows.