Immigration Crack Down Possible

By: James Jackson Email
By: James Jackson Email

State lawmakers have a lot to work on this year, from a budget deficit to transportation, but immigration remains a hot-button issue.

Attorney General Bob McDonnell shared his agenda for the legislative session starting Wednesday.

"Those who want to come to America play by the rules, pay taxes, obey the law and assimilate into the culture, we ought to welcome them here and they ought to be welcomed into the Virginia experiment," says McDonnell.

Near the top of McDonnell's list of issues is combating illegal immigration. He says he wants law enforcement to help.

"But those who come here illegal and commit crimes against Virginians ought to be detained and deported. I think there's broad public support for that," says McDonnell.

The plan is to refuse bail to illegals who commit crimes and to require officers to verify whether or not someone taken into custody is an illegal alien.

Valley law departments, such as the Harrisonburg Police Department, have a few questions. One concern for them is what specific crimes would a person have to commit in order to go through the new purposed process.

"Those are all things that people are certainly going to be concerned with and I think that's one of the things we have to look at too. And looking at what kinds of crimes people are involved in as far as immigrants," says Lt. Kurt Boshart.

When it comes to verification of an illegal alien, Boshart says that has already become routine and easier thanks to an Immigration and Customs office located in Harrisonburg.

"A lot of times, up till now, it's always been dependent on what types of crimes the person has committed," says Boshart. "If it's felony crime, that takes more precedence as opposed to a misdemeanor crime."


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