- The Washington Times - Monday, September 10, 2007

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Virginia residents and Gov. Tim Kaine should embrace legislation proposed by General Assembly Republicans to crack down on illegal aliens arrested for crimes in the state. GOP lawmakers are introducing legislation requiring state sheriffs to verify the citizenship of suspects they arrest. The measure will mandate that jails at all times have an onsite staffer who is certified by federal authorities to detain and begin deportation proceedings against illegal-alien suspects and criminals. A commonsense proposal, the plan would have sheriffs rely on the nationwide databases from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to quickly identify illegal aliens and ensure they are detained without bail. Leading supporters of the bill such as state Sen. Jay O’Brien rightly emphasize that noncitizens who are in the United States illegally are by definition lawbreakers and therefore a heightened flight risk.

The legislative proposal is further bolstered by recent findings from the Virginia State Crime Commission, which reported that nearly 10 percent of Virginia’s inmates — some 21,000 people — are illegals. If sheriffs are given resources to access ICE’s valuable data, these tens of thousands of illegal aliens will face a streamlined process of expulsion from a state that will be able to avoid costly booking and imprisonment costs currently paid by taxpayers.This latest measure has already won the tentative approval of the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, the organization representing Virginia’s 123 sheriff’s offices, many of whom oversee administration of the state’s 80 regional jails. These men and women who would be most affected by the measure agree that it will help address the problem of illegal-alien criminals and put to rest objections raised about increased paperwork or bureaucracy.

It would be a welcome development if Mr. Kaine would take a stand, say no to the open-borders groups and support this commonsense legislation. But don’t hold your breath.

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