Saturday, September 9, 2006

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor is lending his support to an effort in Culpeper to crack down on illegal immigration.

Mr. Cantor, Virginia Republican, said he has been following the debate over the issue, which drew attention when Town Council member Steve Jenkins began an effort to target landlords and employers who house or hire illegal aliens.

Mr. Jenkins also is considering calling for an official designation of English as the town’s primary language.

The Culpeper County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to send a letter to Mr. Cantor requesting help.

The Town Council will on Tuesday consider sending a joint letter with the county supervisors.

“Illegal immigration is a national crisis that must be addressed at all levels of government,” Mr. Cantor wrote in a letter to town and county leaders. “If you identify a need for federal legislation to help you, I stand ready to consider any and all ideas to help you solve this growing crisis.”

The Senate and the House are at a stalemate on how best to address illegal immigration.

In his letter, Mr. Cantor said he doubts the Senate will take action on the issue until after the November elections.

Mr. Jenkins said he was pleased Mr. Cantor, in his third term representing the 3rd Congressional District, had responded.

“I believe right will prevail and [that federal officials] will step up,” he said.

A meeting recently called by Mr. Jenkins on the topic drew more than 200 people and became contentious when some exchanged angry words.

At the same time, about 100 people sympathetic to immigrants marched downtown. Such supporters also have sent a letter to the Town Council urging its members to reject measures that target illegal aliens.

Mr. Jenkins has cited Hazelton, Pa., as a city that is taking local action to curb illegal immigration.

Hazelton has legislation targeting landlords and employers who house or hire illegal aliens. However, a federal court order has stopped the city from enforcing the measures, which were to take effect tomorrow.

They plan to rework the legislation as the city contends with a lawsuit by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union.

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