It seems that Democrats in Virginia are understanding that the illegal alien problem isn’t going to get any better if it’s approached from a “social justice” perspective. Eric Ferguson, who is running in the 9th House of Delegates District issued a very strong press release on this issue today, raising hopes that effective legislation to combat the presence of illegal aliens in Virginia is increasingly becoming a non-partisan issue.
From today’s press release:
Virginia’s employers are not currently required to verify that potential employees are either citizens or working legally. Ferguson says this must change, “We can no longer do business as usual.”
Under Ferguson’s plan, if an employer fails to verify the documentation and is found to have hired an illegal worker there would be a civil penalty of $10,000 per violation and a thirty day suspension of their right to conduct business. The $10,000 penalty would be earmarked for the creation and maintenance of the verification database and the employment of 100 new state employment inspectors.
A second offense would result in a complete revocation of the business’s right to conduct business in Virginia as well as the prohibition of the owner’s ability to undertake other business in the Commonwealth.
Ferguson continued, “It should be the top priority of our elected officials to secure our borders and stem the tide of illegal immigration long before they dedicate our limited resources to rewarding illegal behavior with amnesty.” Ferguson added, “Until the federal government enacts meaningful immigration reform, the states must fend for themselves. The financial burden of illegal immigration should not rest upon the shoulders of the hardworking, taxpaying public. It is time we stop all of the talk and take some serious action.”
Ferguson’s opponent is incumbent Republican Alan Dudley. Dudley has a good voting record on this subject in the last legislative session, and was a co-patron of HB 487 in the 2006 session which sought to implement the Section 287(g) Program in Virginia. That of course was killed by a committee in the Senate.
This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. There are representatives from both parties that are good and bad on reducing the numbers of, and effects by illegal aliens, and there is an opportunity for Democrats to make plenty of inroads if they get on the right side in this debate. If more challengers understand that this issue represents a substantial opportunity to gain traction in their races, we could be looking at a big change in how successful legislation on this subject will be in the next session.
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