- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2007

RICHMOND (AP) — The Virginia State Crime Commission is studying the effect of illegal immigration on the state’s criminal justice system.

The commission has established a 16-member task force to examine crimes by and against illegal aliens in Virginia and tabulate the financial impact of the crimes.

“Our intent is to define the scope of the problem and try to define where we can be effective” in protecting the public, said the commission’s chairman, state Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle, Virginia Beach Republican.

The task-force members have not yet been selected, but will include representatives from law enforcement, the labor industry and migrant communities, Mr. Stolle said.

The study by the task force could take a year or more to complete.

The number of illegal aliens in the United States has been estimated at between 12 million and 20 million.

Based on 2005 population numbers, Virginia is home to an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 illegal aliens, according to a 2006 Pew Hispanic Center report.

State lawmakers, frustrated with the federal government’s inaction on immigration reform, are taking on the issue. About 50 immigration-related bills were introduced during the 2007 General Assembly.

“And each year, we still have almost no facts to base our decision upon,” Mr. Stolle said.

Most of the immigration-related measures introduced this year were rejected. Among them were bills making it illegal for an employer to hire or harbor an immigrant who is in the country unlawfully and to prohibit in-state tuition rates for illegal aliens attending Virginia public colleges.

Among the few bills that passed was a measure to establish an advisory commission to examine how legal and illegal immigration has affected education, health care, law enforcement and other areas.

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