With the construction industry slowdown, immigrant laborers are spending some time homing their skills so that when the market rebounds, they can earn better wages, according to the Washington Post. So far, so good. ASTRACOR in conjunction with local labor unions and some undisclosed local government bodies, which is providing this job skills training with funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia, doesn’t seem to be taking any steps to ensure that illegal aliens don’t receive this training, which may be a violation of Virginia Code Section 63.2-503.1. Taxpayer funds simply cannot be used by state or local government to provide benefits to illegal aliens.
Known as ASTRACOR, its initials in Spanish, the organization started with a grant of $200,000 from the state of Virginia. Local government officials, business leaders and members of the Construction & Master Laborers Local Union 11, which represents workers in commercial construction, founded the group.
If there is no actual relationship between local government and ASTRACOR, then they’ve managed to avail themselves of a loophole in the law that Delegate Jackson Miller attempted to close in 2007 with HB 2937. If there is such a relationship, which is pretty likely given that Arlington Board Chairman Walter Tejada and Governor Tim Kaine are prominently pictured on the ASTRACOR website, then there’s a big problem. Tejada and Kaine might want to provide public benefits to illegal aliens with taxpayer dollars, which seems to be the case, but their efforts to abet the unlawful presence of illegal aliens cannot be funded with your taxpayer dollars. Were they supporting illegal aliens with thier own money, that would be a federal felony punishable by five years in federal prison.
This next session of the General Assembly, I hope Delegate Miller reintroduces this legislation in order to make sure that government can’t just hand off money to a private organization so it can do what the Commonwealth cannot legally do. A clearer line here would be most helpful in cases like this.
UPDATE: a reader emailed ASTRACOR (in English) asking if it was OK to come to the classes if he was an undocumented immigrant. The response he received, translated from Spanish is as follows:
When you come to our offices, the only thing that are required to register themselves with us is its direction and I number telephone. Classes of training: Ceramic Tile/: Saturday, June 28, and each Saturday after that of the 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 p.m. Plumbing: Tuesday and Thursday, starting July 8 of 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. We request a 25$ donation to cover the materials and tools that use and I deposit of 25$ but that we returned to him when it finishes the classes.
So are they training illegal aliens with taxpayer dollars? Without any doubt.
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