- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2003

Virginia Gov. Mark Warner signed legislation yesterday requiring foreign nationals to prove they are in the country legally before obtaining a driver's license.
"The additional safeguards contained in [this legislation] are appropriate, given the ongoing threat of terrorism," Mr. Warner said.
Mr. Warner also amended legislation that would bar illegal aliens from paying in-state tuition at public colleges and universities, allowing for exceptions in certain documented cases. The amended legislation returns to the General Assembly during a one-day session next month.
Under Virginia law, the governor has until midnight tomorrow to sign, veto or amend legislation passed during the 2003 General Assembly. He also can pocket veto legislation by not signing it.
The legislation requiring foreign nationals to prove their legal-entry status was sponsored by Delegate David B. Albo and state Sen. Jay O'Brien, both Fairfax County Republicans.
The budget agreement passed by both chambers last month allocated $400,000 for implementing the program.
Mr. Warner increased the allocation to $1 million as part of his budget, which lawmakers will address April 2.
"What he has done has made this even better," Mr. Albo said yesterday. "Instead of defeating it, he has made it a much better bill. I am very pleased."
Peter Gadiel, a board member of the Survivors of 9/11 Coalition, testified for the legislation when it was originally being considered in Richmond. His son, a graduate of Washington and Lee University, worked in the World Trade Center and was killed September 11, 2001.
"Words cannot express how happy I am today," Mr. Gadiel said from his Connecticut home. "Nothing is going to bring the 3,000 dead back, but this is definitely a step in the right direction."
Mr. Warner's amendments for the tuition bill offer exceptions to illegal aliens under specific conditions.
Illegal aliens who can prove they graduated from a Virginia high school, have lived in Virginia for at least five years, are trying to change their status from illegal to legal and whose parents or they themselves have paid Virginia income taxes for the past five years would be eligible for in-state tuition under his proposal.
"This exception recognizes that there are some young people who came to America with their parents when they were very young and who are in a position to become legal residents of the United States. … It is only fair that this narrowly targeted group of students, whose parents paid Virginia income taxes, have the chance to receive in-state tuition," he said.
Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore disagreed and encouraged lawmakers to reject the amendments in a statement released yesterday.
"I continue to believe that it is not too much to ask that people obey the laws of our society before they take advantage of what our society has to offer," the Republican said.
"When one considers that out-of-state military personnel who happen to be stationed in Virginia cannot receive in-state tuition, it makes little sense to offer those benefits to those who have broken our immigration laws."
The in-state tuition bill was part of his legislative agenda and would codify existing Virginia law.

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