The Virginia State Crime Commission is establishing a task force to study the effect of illegal immigration on the state’s criminal justice system.
The 16-member group will examine crimes by and against illegal immigrants in Virginia and tabulate the financial impact of those crimes.
“Our intent is to define the scope of the problem and try to define where we can be effective” in protecting citizens, said crime commission chairman Sen. Kenneth Stolle, R-Virginia Beach.
Based on 2005 population numbers, Virginia is home to about 250,000 to 300,000 illegal immigrants, according to a 2006 Pew Hispanic Center report.
State lawmakers, frustrated with the federal government’s inaction on immigration reform, are taking on the issue. About 50 immigration-related bills were introduced during the 2007 General Assembly.
Most of the immigration-related measures introduced this year were rejected. Among them were bills making it illegal for an employer to hire or harbor an immigrant who is in the country unlawfully and to prohibit in-state tuition rates for illegal aliens attending Virginia public colleges.
Among the few bills that passed was a measure to establish an advisory commission to examine how both legal and illegal immigration has impacted education, health care, law enforcement and other areas.