- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 7, 2005

Herndon Mayor Michael O’Reilly supports a “day-laborer” center catering to illegals next to the town’s police station. He shouldn’t. Herndon residents do not want it, as the Herndon Planning Commission’s 4-3 vote at 2:30 A.M. on Friday to oppose it acknowledged. It could also invite unwanted scrutiny from Washington because the center would violate federal law that prohibits the aiding and abetting of illegal aliens.

Herndon already knows it cannot fly under the immigration-enforcement radar screen: Immigration stalwart Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican, is watching. As he wrote to the Herndon Planning Commission on Wednesday: “Any day labor center which serves primarily illegal (or so-called ‘undocumented’) aliens is in violation of federal law prohibiting ‘aiding and abetting’ of such illegal aliens. I urge you to turn down this proposed program,” which sends “a very negative and pernicious message to the community — that you can break the law with impunity.”

For years, Mr. Tancredo has been calling for cutting federal funds for law enforcement, homeland security and other areas for towns and cities that flout federal immigration law. He and others in the House would not look favorably on this center. Efforts to clamp down are only increasing: Mr. Tancredo has watched floor votes for his proposal double over the last few years.

The same day Mr. O’Reilly announced that he favors the center, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay threw his support behind Mr. Tancredo’s proposal. Speaking in his home district of Sugar Land, Tex., Mr. DeLay said: “It greatly concerns me that the police chief in Houston, Texas, has created a sanctuary in Houston by announcing that he is not going to enforce our laws … That is unacceptable, and we hope to address it through Tancredo’s legislation or other legislation.”

There doesn’t appear to be anything in the Tancredo proposal to directly affect any significant amounts of federal money Herndon currently receives. But clearly this center draws the ire not just of public opinion but lawmakers too, so that could change. Mr. O’Reilly should oppose the center, for Herndon’s sake.

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