Virginia to Deny Illegals Benefits

Christina Bellantoni, Washington Times, Feb. 23

RICHMOND—Both chambers of the Republican-controlled Virginia General Assembly yesterday approved a measure that would deny illegal aliens access to state and local public benefits, including Medicaid.

The House voted 81-17 to approve the bill, which applies only to aliens 19 and older. The Senate, which usually rejects legislation that restricts benefits to illegal aliens, approved the bill on a 27-11 vote.

The bill now heads to Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat, who could not be reached for comment yesterday. Warner spokeswoman Ellen Qualls said the bills are “under review,” but did not offer further comment.

Since becoming governor in 2002, Mr. Warner has vetoed legislation that would have required illegal aliens to pay out-of-state tuition at state universities and approved a measure that requires foreign nationals to prove they are in the United States legally before obtaining a driver’s license.

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“These bills honor legal immigrants who wait in line and follow all the rules,” said Mr. Albo, Fairfax County Republican. “This bill could have been harsher, but it exempts people who are younger than 19 to make sure they are not punished because of the fact that their parents dragged them to this country.”

Mr. Albo said government workers now do not require verification of legal presence when giving out benefits.

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