Loudoun County supervisors took Prince William County"s lead and voted unanimously yesterday to restrict public services for illegal aliens.
Loudoun"s nine-member Board of Supervisors modeled the resolution after one approved by Prince William County supervisors last week, which was billed as one of the toughest immigration policies in the country.
The Loudoun resolution, introduced by Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, Sterling District Republican, asks the county administrator to help identify three categories of public services — those mandated by federal or state law, regardless of immigration status; those prohibited by federal or state law to illegal aliens; and those for which the county might have the discretion to deny illegal aliens. The administrator is to report back to the board in early September.
"Illegal immigration is continuing to take a greater and greater toll in this community," Mr. Delgaudio said. "While lax federal and state enforcement allows a problem to develop, local government also is at fault when it rewards lawbreakers with free taxpayer-funded services."
The resolution also urges the Loudoun County Sheriff"s Office to pursue federal training under Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which allows state and local law-enforcement agencies to work with federal officials to identify and detain illegal aliens.
The sheriff"s office is in the process of finalizing a formal agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which handles the training.
Prince William"s resolution requires police officers to ask about immigration status in all arrests if there is probable cause to think that a suspect has violated federal immigration law.
Loudoun"s resolution does not include such a provision because the county has a sheriff"s office and not a police department. The board cannot impose mandates on the sheriff"s office because the sheriff is an elected official.
Loudoun"s resolution also directs the county administrator and county attorney to report back with information on the legal ability of the county to deny building permits, business licenses and contracts to companies that hire illegal aliens.
The board"s five other Republican supervisors — Jim Clem, Stephen J. Snow, Mick Staton, Bruce E. Tulloch and Lori Waters — indicated their support for the resolution when Mr. Delgaudio made it public yesterday morning.
"What we are doing is standing up for the taxpayers ... and we"re standing up for the school systems ... and we"re standing up for the constituents who want this addressed," said Mr. Tulloch, the board vice chairman representing the Potomac District.
"Prince William County took a very forward-moving step on addressing the issue and forced other counties to take steps also to protect the citizens within their counties."
Supervisors Jim Burton, Blue Ridge District independent, and Sally R. Kurtz, Catoctin District Democrat, expressed reservations about what they considered the hasty manner in which the resolution was introduced, not the policy.
Mr. Burton offered a substitute motion to postpone voting on the resolution until the next board meeting, which would be in September because the board is on recess next month.
"This is complex, and to be handed a resolution the day we meet and be asked to vote on it without understanding in depth the consequences of that resolution is irresponsible," he said.
After more than an hour of debate during which each supervisor opined on the lack of federal support and the increasingly widespread problem of immigration, the resolution passed unanimously.
"I, for one, would be proud to stand up with our neighbors to the south and show support for them and show support for our citizens," Mr. Staton said, adding that if enough localities take similar steps, perhaps the message will eventually be heard on Capitol Hill.
Earlier yesterday, the board also voted unanimously to send a letter to Herndon and Fairfax County officials expressing opposition to the continued operation of a partially taxpayer-funded day-laborer center in Herndon, widely thought to be used by illegal aliens.
"It"s a positive day for the people of Loudoun and the people of Virginia," said Joe Budzinski, founder of Help Save Loudoun, an anti-illegal immigration group. "What Herndon did last year, what Prince William did last week and these two votes today are an indication that, at least in this section of the state, we"re beginning to take back our state one community at a time."
Herndon residents last year ousted Town Council members who supported the day-laborer center.
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