Some of Virginia's delegates said illegal immigration affects the entire country. Similar policies have been up for debate right here in Virginia.
Volunteers on the other side of the immigrant debate said the immigrants add to our country and those volunteers are fighting to keep similar laws out of Virginia's courts.
Volunteer Fernando Perez has spoken with Hispanics in the Valley and has heard what it is like to have family members deported.
“There's this hurt and this vulnerability that comes out of seeing families torn apart,” said Perez. “Oftentimes, it seems like it's not justified.”
Perez works with Virginia Organizing, which challenges injustice. The organization has spoken out against laws similar to those in Arizona saying it encourages racial profiling.
Republican Delegate Steve Landes said the Supreme Court support of the Arizona law almost comes too late.
“The crux of the problem is they're not doing anything about it, so states have been forced to act,” said Landes.
Landes said illegal immigrants travel to Virginia and take jobs from people who live here.
“No one would begrudge anybody to try to find and locate a job and better themselves, but you have to do it in the proper and legal way, and that's the problem.”
Perez said the real problem is deporting people who already work hard for what work they can find.
“If we're willing to have people come here and work and help our economy, help our communities out in that way, it's unfair to essentially just to use them for that and not really give them the same rights that we're giving to citizens,” said Perez.
He will keep fighting against illegal immigration laws in Virginia to keep laws like the one in Arizona from passing here.
“We think it's pretty unfair that that can be used to split a family up.”
Delegate Landes said a similar immigration policy could come up for debate as soon as the next General Assembly session starts. He said the Arizona ruling also sets a precedent that other states could follow.
Congressman Bob Goodlatte, who represents us in the Sixth District of Virginia, said the immigration issue is a crisis and that it burdens schools, law enforcement and health care. Goodlatte also said he will keep supporting acts in Congress that would give states and local government authority to enforce immigration.
© Copyright 2013 WHSV / Gray Television Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.