The DC Examiner reports that Delegates Bob Marshall and Jeff Frederick are proposing legislation in this session of the General Assembly to combat some of the effects of illegal aliens unlawfully residing in Virginia, with proposals to raise the fine for residential overcrowding and to withhold state funds from localities who fail to deny taxpayer-funded public benefits to illegal aliens. As usual, the Prince William County delegation is leading the way in the General Assembly.
Del. Jeff Frederick, R-Prince William County, is drafting legislation that would financially punish counties and other local jurisdictions that provide any public services to illegal immigrants, except those required by federal law. His measure would withhold state aid to localities that have not passed ordinances similar to Prince William County’s, which ban illegals from receiving local taxpayer-funded services from care for senior citizens to drug rehabilitation.
“In 2005 we passed legislation that said that no county, city or town in Virginia or any state agency can provide public benefits to illegal aliens,” Frederick said. “Unfortunately, there is no teeth in that law, and localities can ignore it. [Legislators] need to put teeth behind that law.”
Delegate Frederick’s proposal could dramatically improve compliance with current Virginia law. Although Virginia Code § 63.2-503.1 requires that localities obtain proof of legal presence before providing any public benefit, few localities have made any attempts to comply with this requirement, and some, such as Fairfax and Arlington Counties are openly defying this law. If elected officials aren’t going to comply with the law because their oath of office demands it, perhaps they’ll comply with the law when the penalties for breaking it are sufficiently severe to deter noncompliance.
This is going to prompt a big battle in the General Assembly, with localities determined to keep the welcome mat out for illegal aliens, as Gerry Connolly has described it, fighting hard to defeat this. As soon as this is filed, Virginians who want to ensure that the law has meaning in the Commonwealth are going to have to start really beating on their elected officials, as it’s going to be difficult to get this through the Senate. Senate majority leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax) is going to work hard to bury this, and it will take a lot of constituent pressure to overcome that opposition.
Kudos, as usual to Jeff Frederick for working on this proposal. Now we’re all going to have to play our part to help make sure this gets passed.
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