Jerry W. Kilgore said yesterday that he would use state troopers to enforce laws against illegal aliens in Arlington County or any other locality that fails to do so, if he is elected governor.
“I’ll have the state police in there if there’s a big problem in Arlington,” the Republican gubernatorial nominee said during a meeting yesterday with editors and reporters at The Washington Times.
Mr. Kilgore also said he would aim to sanction businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens by seeking legislation or issuing an executive order that would deny state contracts to such companies.
“Right is right,” the former state attorney general said. “If businesses need more workers, then go to Congress and make sure people come here legally. We need to know from a public-safety standpoint who is here and why they are here and when they’re supposed to leave.”
Illegal immigration is tied to the increase in the number of gangs in Virginia, which is the biggest public-safety challenge facing the state, Mr. Kilgore said.
He said he would seek legislation and an agreement with the U.S. Homeland Security Department that would allow state troopers to detain and deport illegal aliens.
“MS-13, the most violent of all gangs, is dominating this area,” he said. “I’ll be in here making sure that we’re enforcing our anti-gang laws and illegal-immigration laws, and I think we’ll have a safer community because of that.”
Arlington County officials have said they will not routinely check the immigration status of people they arrest, even though a law enacted last year allows Virginia authorities to detain known illegal aliens who are suspected of a crime and had been convicted of felonies and deported.
In addition, local officials recently approved a shelter in Herndon for day laborers, similar to one operating in Shirlington.
“A local government can’t decide to violate the law. That’s what they’re doing,” Mr. Kilgore said, adding that he would seek legislation to bar shelters from aiding illegal aliens.
“I just think we’re going down the wrong course to acquiesce to illegal immigration and just assume that it’s got to happen and it’s going to happen,” he said.