Stewart's immigration reform push in Pr. William brings a challenger

By Jennifer Buske
Sunday, December 5, 2010; 12:43 AM

Prince William County resident John Gray, who plans to challenge incumbent county board Chairman Corey A. Stewart next year, said he will launch a Web site to counter Stewart's stance on illegal immigration.

Gray said the Web site, which will debut in about a week, will be called Prince William Rule of Law - a twist on Stewart's Virginia Rule of Law Web site, which Stewart launched this year in an effort to bring immigration reform to the Commonwealth.

The site, Gray said, will not attack Stewart but will counter Stewart's campaign and present "factual" information instead of "scathing rhetoric" and "misleading innuendoes."

Stewart is pushing for the state to implement an immigration policy similar to Prince William's, which requires police officers to check the immigration status of all people arrested on suspicion of violating state or federal laws. Stewart has been touting the policy in recent weeks, latching on to a recent University of Virginia study that showed the policy had some impact on the immigration population in the county.

Gray said his Web site will detail why communities would not want to implement a similar policy. It will not advocate for the rescission of the 287 (g) program in the county.

"What it will present is both the relative neutrality of the results of the 287 program and, most importantly, the collateral damage experienced by Prince William County from the misimplementation of the program by individuals using it for personal political gain," he said.

Gray announced his plan to run as an independent against Stewart in June, citing his frustration with Stewart using Prince William as a "stepping stone" to reach his political aspirations. Stewart is looking to run for U.S. Senate in 2012.

Stewart "has the right and prerogative to propose whatever he wants and to run for whatever office he wants to run for in his capacity as a private citizen," Gray said. "He doesn't have the right, nor is it the proper use of his office as chairman . . . to use that podium to advance his personal political agenda."

Gray, 59, ran for a seat on the board in 2007 but was defeated by Occoquan Supervisor Michael C. May. Gray, Stewart and Gainesville resident Gary C. Friedman will vie for board chairman next year.

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