Pol Wants 'Zona-Style Illegal Immigration Law for Virginia - NBC4 Washington

Pol Wants 'Zona-Style Illegal Immigration Law for Virginia



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    The chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors is proposing an Arizona-style illegal immigration law for the entire Commonwealth of Virginia.

    The tough law on illegal immigration the county adopted a couple of years ago isn't sufficient, according to a statement released by Corey Stewart for Chairman.

    "We saw a 37 percent drop in violent crime in the first two years of enforcement and overall crime is at a 15-year low," he said. "But we have anecdotally known, since day one, that the criminal aliens that fled were just going to neighboring jurisdictions."

    So Stewart has started a petition online and a Facebook page for The Virginia Rule of Law Campaign. He has promised a draft of the law soon.

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    It would give police more power to identify and deport illegal immigrants, impose harsh penalties for illegal immigrants, and crack down on day labor and human smuggling. Jails would release illegal immigrants to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement upon completion of their sentences. Police would be allowed to make arrests without warrants if they believed those arrests could lead to deportations. And individual cities and counties would be barred from interfering.

    Prince William County's controversial law doesn't make it a crime to be an illegal immigrant in the county, but it allows police to check immigration status of people who've been arrested, which Stewart credits for the drop in violent crime and fewer illegal immigrants in the county.

    Those who campaigned for the law, which took effect in July 2008, argued that the county had to take care of itself if the commonwealth and country weren't going to address illegal immigration. Stewart's latest campaign takes the same position.

    "As long as the federal government shows no interest in securing the border and no interest in internal enforcement to promote self-deportation, then states and localities will have to pick up the slack," he said.

    And he intends to use the 2011 election to pressure the General Assembly into passing his Virginia Rule of Law next session.

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