Immigration is once again in the spotlight here in Virginia, where the issue has become a dividing line between the parties.
Governor Ralph Northam vetoed two immigration bills passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly.
One would force local law-enforcement agencies to perform federal immigration duties. The other, introduced by Delegate Charles Poindexter of Franklin County, would require jails to notify federal immigration authorities when they release undocumented inmates.
“We cooperate with the federal government on murder and law enforcement for illegal drugs, human trafficking, conspiracy, smuggling, even ABC involvement," says Poindexter. "And I propose that we should cooperate on immigration as well.”
Northam disagreed with that approach, which is why he vetoed the bill.
Laura Goren at the Commonwealth Institute says both of these bills forced local governments to entangle themselves with ICE.
“Which will erode trust between local communities and local law enforcement, and that makes all of us less safe because it makes victims and witnesses of crimes less likely to come forward,” claims Goren.
Now, the bills may have been vetoed, but that’s not necessarily the end of the story. Expect Republicans and Democrats to raise the issue later this year on the campaign trail when all 140 members of the General Assembly will be on the ballot.