The House of Delegates has rejected legislation prohibiting police officers from asking crime victims and witnesses about their immigration status.
Delegates voted 52-46 Wednesday to kill Senator Janet Howell's bill, which the Senate had passed unanimously.
Delegate David Albo of Fairfax County said the bill was intended to encourage illegal aliens to cooperate in criminal investigations. He said the bill would help police put members of immigrant gangs behind bars.
But Delegate Jackson Miller of Manassas said the measure could make criminals of officers whose only aim is to protect the public. And Delegate Rob Bell of Albemarle County said the legislature has never before instructed police not to inquire about an illegal activity.