State legislators said yesterday that Virginia is facing an immigration crisis on par with Arizona and New Mexico and urged Gov. Mark Warner to declare an emergency like the governors of those two states did last week.
Delegate Jeffrey M. Frederick, Prince William County Republican, has asked Mr. Warner, a Democrat, to declare a state of emergency to stop the influx of illegal aliens into the state. Mr. Frederick said that even though Virginia does not share a border with Mexico, the state must take such action to tap federal homeland security dollars to fund police efforts to arrest illegal aliens and hand them over to federal immigration authorities.
“They might be coming through Arizona, but they are landing here,” Mr. Frederick said. “It’s getting out of control. We really need to do everything we can and utilize every tool that’s available to us.”
Mr. Frederick, the only Hispanic member of the General Assembly, said such a move would help stem the drain on taxpayer resources caused by illegals who use public services, including hospitals. He still has relatives in Colombia.
Mr. Frederick’s Friday letter to the governor likely will net wide support in the Republican-controlled legislature, which earlier this year overwhelmingly passed a measure denying public benefits to illegal aliens and in 2003 required motorists to prove legal residency to obtain driver’s licenses.
Conservative estimates put the number of illegal aliens in Virginia at 100,000 to 200,000.
Virginia Delegate David B. Albo, who authored the public benefits and license laws, said declaring a state of emergency could help the state.
“If New Mexico and Arizona qualify, certainly Northern Virginia would,” the Fairfax County Republican said. “The amount of money that we are spending on illegal aliens is monstrous. Any way that we can get the federal government to help us fix the problem they’ve created I’m sure would go over 100 percent with 100 percent approval from the caucus.”