Va. Politician Wants Tougher Illegal Immigration Laws

Immigrants and day laborers in Virginia could face new restrictions.

Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, is proposing model legislation for Virginia legislators to consider based on the new Arizona immigration law.

"It will require officers to check immigration status of any person who is detained for any reason whatsoever if there is reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal immigrant, but it's important to note that the person must be lawfully stopped."

Stewart believes a federal judge was wrong blocking portions of the Arizona law requiring immigrants to carry papers and allowing police to question their status. Stewart said local laws have been upheld.

"In 2007, Prince William County passed a very similar piece of legislation, which required officers to check immigration status if there is probable cause, and that went up in front of the court and the court deemed that it was legal," he said.

But Nancy Lyall, legal coordinator for the group Mexicans Without Borders, said Stewart mischaracterized the 2007 court ruling.

"What the court actually said is that they would not rule at that particular time because the regulation had not been implemented," she said.

Mexicans Without Borders and the Woodbridge Workers Committee said day laborers are following the rules.

John Steinbach said Stewart "wants to ban day laborers soliciting on street corners. Every single federal Court has ruled over and over again you just can't do that unless you provide a hiring hall, a center where the day laborers can go. Well, Corey Stewart has opposed this."

Stewart's "model legislation" has been sent to Richmond where it could be taken up in the session that begins in January, but a fight is expected and opponents expect to defeat those efforts calling on the support of Virginia democratic senators.

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