Va. county sues feds to learn status of detained illegal immigrants

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A jury trial for Mr. Martinelly Montano is scheduled to begin Oct. 31.

Prince William County became the focus of national attention in 2007 when it passed an ordinance that initially would have required police to check the immigration status of suspected criminals if they had probable cause to think they were in the country illegally. It was later modified so that immigration status would be checked for anyone held under physical custodial arrest.

In the wake of the accident last August, Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli issued an official legal opinion in response to a request from Delegate Robert G. Marshall, Prince William Republican, saying that state police had the authority to check the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest. A 2008 Virginia law requires law enforcement to check the immigration status of any person taken into physical custodial arrest suspected of committing another crime.

Gov. Bob McDonnell in September ordered the state Department of Motor Vehicles to stop accepting an Employment Authorization Document, or work permit, as proof of legal status. Mr. Martinelly Montano used the document when applying for an identification card, police said.

Mr. McDonnell, a Republican, also sent a letter to Ms. Napolitano this year pressing her to approve the state’s application to enter into a federal program known as 287(g), which deputizes local law enforcement agents to enforce certain federal immigration laws.

A handful of Virginia jurisdictions participate in the program, including the town of Herndon, Loudoun County, Prince William County, and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.

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