Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry W. Kilgore yesterday demanded that Fairfax County scrap its plan to grant $400,000 in taxpayer funds to groups that would set up formal centers for day laborers.
Mr. Kilgore said funding such centers gives illegal aliens an incentive to break the law.
“Rewarding illegal behavior is not going to make this situation better; it will only ensure this behavior continues,” he said during a press conference call.
The former state attorney general was responding to a report in The Washington Times on Saturday that said the county had set aside the $400,000 from its $3 billion annual budget to address the problem of day laborers loitering in front of businesses in Culmore, Annandale and Herndon.
“I call upon the government of Fairfax County to reverse course and not use tax dollars of law-abiding citizens to [subsidize] illegal activities,” Mr. Kilgore said.
Mr. Kilgore said businesses should call police when day laborers loiter or cause other problems on their property.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly said the $400,000 was budgeted to help address problems with day laborers. Many residents complain the workers—mostly men—litter, urinate in public and harass women.
Independent candidate H. Russell Potts Jr. called Mr. Kilgore a “racist” and a “bigot” and said the candidate should not inject himself into Fairfax County’s business.
“The Fairfax County Board are duly elected by the people, and every four years they stand for re-election,” said Mr. Potts, a Republican state senator from Winchester. “I’m not going to micromanage them. It should be a local decision.”
Delegate David B. Albo, Fairfax County Republican who joined Mr. Kilgore on the conference call, said organizers must check the immigration status of day laborers.
Mr. Albo this year authored a measure that denies illegals local and state public benefits, including Medicaid. The measure overwhelmingly passed the Republican-controlled legislature, with the support of Mr. Potts and Mr. Kaine.
The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, requires state and local governments to verify the legal presence of an applicant seeking non-emergency public benefits.
Mr. Albo said he thinks Fairfax County would be in violation of this law if the funds are granted.