- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 18, 2005

More than any other seeker of major office in Virginia, Jerry W. Kilgore gets it right about illegal aliens. His sound policy ideas resonate widely with Virginians, who overwhelmingly oppose spending tax dollars on illegals.

“I believe that government should never subsidize illegal behavior or those who are here illegally in this country,” he said Wednesday in his debate with Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, his Democratic opponent, at Richmond’s Virginia Commonwealth University. The subject was day-laborer centers, and Mr. Kilgore did not shy from naming names. He singled out the Herndon Town Council for lacking the backbone to decline a scofflaw-abetting project that spends tax dollars on illegals. Mr. Kaine weakly responded by calling Mr. Kilgore “mean-spirited.”

For anyone who doubts where public opinion lies on this subject, a Rasmussen poll should put the issue to rest. Seventy-one percent of likely voters think taxpayer dollars should not be used for day-laborer centers. Only 18 percent disagree, and 10 percent are undecided. Virginians want their tax dollars spent on people who live here legally, not on flouters of the law.

Someone should tell that to Mr. Kaine and his allies. Last month, after Mr. Kilgore criticized the Herndon day-laborer center on the grounds that it would “undercut our laws and our stability by rewarding those who … are in this country illegally,” The Washington Post denounced him as a “nativist.” By this logic, the 71 percent of Virginians who oppose paying for illegal-alien day-labor centers are nativists. That’s a lot of nativists. The truth is that the Democratic establishment, including Mr. Kaine, refuses to take into account the views of ordinary Virginians.

Happily for Virginians, Mr. Kilgore does. On Thursday, he told The Washington Times that he would go after businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens. “If they are knowingly violating the law they shouldn’t be getting state contracts and they should not be getting state credits and benefits,” Mr. Kilgore said. That follows an additional promise in Wednesday’s debate that as governor he would ask the Department of Homeland Security to train 50 state troopers and give them authority to detail illegals.

Mr. Kilgore should continue speaking truth on the illegal-alien question. The more Virginians know about Mr. Kaine’s see-no-evil approach on illegals, the less likely they will be to support him.

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