Prince William Immigration Rules Could Go Statewide

By Tim Persinko
|  Sunday, Jan 16, 2011  |  Updated 1:45 PM EDT
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Prince William Immigration Rules Could Go Statewide

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

ICE officers arrest suspects in a massive crackdown on illegal immigrants with criminal records.

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In Prince William country, everyone who gets arrested is questioned by police about their immigration status.

Scott Lingamfelter, the county's delegate to Virginia legislature, thinks that would be a good policy for the entire state, too.

Lingamfelter has filed a bill to make Prince William County's immigration policy state law, InsideNova.com reports. The bill would not only require police to ask about the citizenship of those they arrest, it would also allow law enforcement to hold illegal immigrants without bail if they are deemed flight risks, the Washington Post said.

As of yet, the bill has not been scheduled to be heard.

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart has praised the new proposal.  "The strength of this policy is that it mandates the status check and establishes a bright line for Virginia law enforcement," he told InsideNova.  'As lawmakers, we have to show our law enforcement officials that we have their backs."

A University of Virginia study of the county law, which went into effect in 2007, was nuanced in its assessment.  The report concluded that some crime had gone down since the law's introduction.  But the study also concluded that the policy had created an ethnic divide in the perception of the county.  The authors noted that the law came at the same time as the economic downturn, and cautioned that it was difficult to distinguish whether it was the law or the economy that caused crime to go down.

Scott Lingamfelter has another bill in the works that would loosen Virginia's gun laws.  His bill, before legislature now, would allow consumers to buy more than one hand gun in a month.  Currently, residents are limited to buying one handgun every 30 days.

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