Attorney General McDonnell Calls For State 287(g) Participation
Good work by the AG, Tom Rust and Jay O'Brien.
Key words you need to remember: HB 2926; SB 1045.
Contact info for your legislators is available here; tell them to vote for those bills!
Full text of announcement below the fold ...
McDonnell Calls for Immigration Enforcement Authority for State and Local Police
-Legislation Carried By Delegate Tom Rust, Senator Jay O'Brien-
-Letter to Governor Kaine Attached to Release-
RICHMOND - Attorney General Bob McDonnell today announced his support for legislation to clarify that Virginia localities can enforce federal immigration laws with the approval of The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Attorney General also urged Governor Kaine to reconsider his decision to not permit the state at this time to enter into an agreement with ICE to have Virginia State Police enforce those federal immigration laws in the course of enforcing certain state violent crime laws. McDonnell made the announcement at a morning press conference with Delegate Tom Rust (R-Herndon) and Senator Jay O'Brien (R-Clifton). Rust will carry the legislation in the House of Delegates as House Bill 2926; Senator O'Brien will carry the legislation in the Senate as SB 1045.
Speaking about the announcement Attorney General McDonnell noted, "While major policy decisions to control illegal immigration are a federal issue, the states do not have to wait for federal action to take certain steps. Illegal immigrants who commit crimes hurt Virginians directly and therefore it is a Virginia issue requiring Virginia action. I fully support allowing the State Police, DMV, DOC and localities to enter into agreements with ICE to enforce violations of federal immigration laws pursuant to a state criminal law investigation at the state and local level. Our outstanding law enforcement officers already routinely make contact with such individuals but have no power to detain them for immigration offenses."
McDonnell continued remarking, "Today I call on Governor Kaine to reconsider his decision to decline to enter into these agreements at this time. I respect the Governor's right to this decision, but I strongly believe this action should be taken. For that reason I believe we must move forward with legislation this session." McDonnell added, "As the grandson of immigrants to these shores I know that legal, organized immigration is vital to the welfare and prosperity of this nation. However, ignoring the problems associated with illegal immigrants involved in criminal activity undermines our nationâ€™s security, the rule of law, and threatens public safety. As Attorney General I cannot ignore the public safety issues surrounding illegal immigration in the Commonwealth."
Senator Jay O'Brien stated, "This is important legislation that will clarify that local law enforcement can enforce immigration laws should the agency choose to do so. Crimes committed by illegal immigrants are a growing problem in Virginia and it is time we allow our law enforcement agencies to do something about it."
Delegate Tom Rust voiced his support, stating "Virginia residents are tired of being told that illegal immigration is only a federal matter and there is nothing that can be done on the state and local level. That is not true, there are steps we can take to combat illegal immigration and crime and this is an important one."
Recent data demonstrates a strong correlation between illegal immigrants and crime. According to the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, about 80,000 illegal immigrants have been convicted of felonies, served prison time, and been deported, yet are back in the United States illegally. In the City of Los Angeles alone more than 90% of outstanding homicide warrants and 65% of the cityâ€™s fugitive felony warrants are for illegal aliens. The inability of law enforcement to enforce immigration laws threatens law-abiding citizens and contributes to this growing problem.
Virginia localities are increasingly voicing their support for this authority. Herndon, Manassas, and Prince William have all recently inquired with ICE about the granting of immigration enforcement authority for their police officers. This bill will clarify that localities are within their rights to do so. In the case of authority for state agencies the Governor must authorize an agreement. Local and state law enforcement agencies in North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Arizona, and California are now participating in this immigration enforcement partnership with ICE.
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