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In February, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, and Vice President Dick Cheney asking the federal government to pay the county’s estimated $3 million immigration bill.

Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, a Republican, pressured Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat, to let the state police, the state Department of Corrections and the state Department of Motor Vehicles enter into an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to allow state authorities to enforce federal immigration laws in the course of investigating violent crimes.

Mr. Kaine balked at the proposal, saying immigration was a federal issue and that the state police would be stretched too thin.

The General Assembly this year took up almost 50 bills related to illegal immigration.

Such action reflects a national trend. The National Conference of State Legislatures released a report that showed as of April state legislators in the 50 states had introduced 1,169 bills and resolutions related to immigration — more than double the number of bills introduced last year.

The result has been a mixed bag of policies, ranging from allowing in-state college tuition for illegal aliens to denying public funding for day-labor centers.

Virginia localities also are making their own decisions.

The municipalities of Herndon and Manassas and Prince William County are using a window in the Immigration and Nationality Act that allows state and local law-enforcement agencies to work with federal officials to identify and detain illegal aliens.

The Herndon Police Department recently completed federal training, making it the first locality in the region to enter the local-federal partnership.