Bills Targeting Illegals Get Bipartisan Boost

Keyonna Summers, Washington Times, Jan. 20, 2006

Republicans and Democrats in Virginia are teaming up on at least a dozen legislative measures that would crack down on illegal aliens in the state.

The legislation includes barring the use of taxpayer money to fund day-laborer centers, penalizing businesses that employ illegal aliens and requiring state police to enter an agreement with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement that would allow state police to enforce immigration laws.

Other measures would allow officers to report to federal officials the names of juvenile delinquents who might be in the U.S. illegally, and give the state authority to penalize the manufacture or use of fake identification documents.

Delegate John S. Reid, Henrico Republican, said Virginia’s swelling immigrant population makes such legislation necessary.

“I think people are beginning to see there’s been an influx in the immigrant population in Virginia [and] I think the public is beginning to realize there is some cost associated with it,” he said.

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Mr. Reid has resubmitted legislation this year that would bar aliens from paying in-state tuition at state colleges and universities. In recent years, the House approved the measure but the Senate or the governor rejected it.

Mr. Reid thinks his measure has a good chance of passing the full legislature this year. “In a state where military personnel who are transferred here can’t get in-state tuition for their children, it’s ridiculous [that] someone who isn’t in the state legally can,” he said.

Other bills proposed by Mr. Reid include charging those who employ illegal aliens $10,000 per violation, barring the use of taxpayer funds to set up day-laborer centers and requiring the agencies that run them to check laborers’ legal status, and allowing court officials to report to ICE the names of juvenile delinquents who are illegal aliens.

Delegate Vivian E. Watts, Fairfax County Democrat, has proposed legislation that would make the brandishing of machetes on or near school property a felony. Gangs such as MS-13 are known to carry machetes.

“Machetes represent a serious physical threat that induces significant fear within our neighborhoods,” she said. “We’ll be looking at how to craft legislation that will treat the intimidation factor the same way you would the Ku Klux Klan.”

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“While the whole illegal immigration thing is at the core a federal issue, it’s having a significant impact on the state [and] it’s impacting people in districts whether they’re Republican or Democrat,” he said. “Our citizens are calling for us quite clearly to do something about it.”

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