Virginia's Senate Committees Reject Anti-Immigrant Legislation

Affiliate: ACLU of Virginia
February 15, 2007 12:00 am

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RICHMOND, VA-The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia today welcomed the news that two Senate committees have dispensed with most of the anti-immigrant bills in the Virginia legislature.

“We are pleased that the Senate turned back legislation that would have posed serious threats to our immigrant community,” said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis. “In a time of such strong anti-immigrant sentiment, many of these measures would have substantially increased discrimination based on nationality.”

Most of the action took place yesterday and today in Senate Courts of Justice Committee and General Laws Committee, where six different bills were killed.

All six of the bills had easily passed the more improvident House of Delegates, Willis said.

Three of these bills, HB 1618, HB 1970, and HB 2926, would have allowed state and local law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration laws. All were killed by the Senate Courts of Justice committee in the past two days.

“The ACLU opposed these bills because the Constitution clearly vests the federal government with the authority to oversee immigration,” said Willis. “Moreover, the expansion of these powers to local law enforcement officers not thoroughly trained in immigration law will certainly lead to selective enforcement of the law on the basis of race and national origin.”

HB 2622, which would have made it a felony to harbor an undocumented immigrant, was passed by indefinitely yesterday in Senate Courts.

HB 2687, which allows lawsuits to be filed against employers by employees replaced by undocumented immigrants, was also killed by Senate Courts yesterday.

Senate General Laws and Technology Committee killed HB 2623, which would have made it impossible for any undocumented immigrant to receive in-state tuition. The ACLU believes that such a law unfairly punishes children, who do not have a choice in where they live.

For more information on state bills affecting immigrants (as well as other legislation) go to www.acluva.org

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