Stricter Immigration Enforcement Could Come to Virginia

By: Michael Hyland (WHSV-TV3)
By: Michael Hyland (WHSV-TV3)

August 6, 2010

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) says he's trying reach an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to train Virginia State Police to enforce federal immigration laws. He says a formal announcement could come soon.

There's a program called 287(g), which derives its name from a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Critics say expanding it would make life more difficult for Latinos and their families. Some are also concerned it could lead to increased racial profiling.

Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock) disagrees.

"I think the playing of the race card is extremely unfortunate," says Gilbert.

On the ICE Web site, a section about racial profiling reads, "Racial profiling is simply not something that will be tolerated; and any indication of racial profiling will be treated with the utmost scrutiny and fully investigated. If any proof of racial profiling is uncovered, that specific officer or department could have their agreement rescinded."

Gilbert represents parts of Rockingham and Shenandoah counties which already have 287(g) agreements. According to ICE, five other localities in Virginia have those agreements as well.

"I think those of us who are frustrated with this problem and frustrated with the continued burden on taxpayers want to see the federal government step up and secure our borders," says Gilbert.

Gilbert says it's now less likely Virginia will see an immigration law like the controversial one passed in Arizona, but he expects the General Assembly to take up the immigration issue this winter.

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