Friday, August 31, 2007

It isn't our job

"Illegal aliens should not have a sanctuary in the commonwealth of Virginia. We don't need to provide them with an incentive to cut the line and break the rules," stated Republican delegate Jeffrey M Frederick.

Frederick, whose mother is from Columbia and who says that he is the first Latino elected to state office in Virginia, plans to introduce legislation that would cut state funding to local governments that do not check on the immigration status of residents who receive public assistance. He has stated that the legislation would toughen a 2005 Virginia law that prohibits local governments from providing some social services to illegal immigrants.

He plans to call for every locality to prove its compliance with the law by adopting policies similar to those proposed in Prince William and Loudoun counties. Frederick feels that those that don't comply should lose all their state funding, including transportation and economic developement dollars.

The northern Virginia counties voted this summer to deny services to illegal immigrants and step up law enforement efforts against them. Fairfax county declined to participate in a training program that allows police to gain access to federal immigration databases and quickly deport criminals. Officials in both Fairfax and Arlington stated that they do not support increasing the cooperation between local police and local immigration authorities. They feel that it will lead to even legal immigrants being afraid of reporting crimes and helping with investigations.

Officials in Fairfax state that it isn't their mission but rather, immigration status is a federal mission, they are focusing on the neighborhood problems. Frederick had his harshest criticism for Arlington, alleging that the county goverment there is knowingly providing housing subsidies to illegal immigrants. Paul Ferguson, Arlington Board Chairman, denies the charge but had added that the county doesn't actively seek information about a resident's immigration status unless required by law. I do believe that is what Frederick is trying to do, make it the law.

I can agree with Frederick....... we should not be offering benefits to illegal immigrants because it is an incentive to jump the line and is unfair to those who have immigrated legally and may need those benefits. As for the counties feeling it isn't their job to check immigration status, one only has to look to the recent killings in New Jersey and the recent arrests made in Virginia of fugitives.... all involving illegal immigrants. Making it easier to stay here illegally by giving benefits and looking the other way is not the way to approach the dilemma faced within the U S.

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