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    VA: Hampton Roads speaks out about immigration issues

    Hampton Roads speaks out about immigration issues
    July 17, 2008

    By Austin Wright

    Colette Tranchant cried as she held up a large photograph of her daughter, Tessa, at a public hearing on immigration Wednesday night at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

    In March 2007, Tranchant's daughter was killed by a drunken driver who was in the country illegally.

    "We are losing something that no amount of money can replace," Tranchant told the Governor's Commission on Immigration, a 20-member panel that is studying the effects of immigration in Virginia.

    "They're not enforcing the laws," Tranchant said. "What does that teach our children?"

    About 30 people attended the hearing, the third of five held throughout the state. The commission is trying to gauge public opinion on immigration issues before it reports its findings to the General Assembly at the start of its next session in January.

    Of those who addressed the commission Wednesday, viewpoints were evenly divided, ranging from those advocating the deportation of all illegal immigrants to illegal immigrants themselves expressing a desire to stay and work in this country.

    "From the moment I stepped on American land, I started working as hard as I could so that I could pay my expenses in this country and in my own country," said Jose, who spoke through an interpreter and provided only his first name because he is in the country illegally.

    "What we are asking is to please not close the door to this opportunity," he said.

    Another speaker, John Smigielski, told the commission that the country should not provide social programs such as education and health care to illegal immigrants.

    "It's going to take a whole lot of courage to do the right thing - you're going to be called racist," he said. "We are a nation of laws, and we need to follow those laws."

    State Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, chair of the commission, said its final report will offer policy recommendations to state lawmakers and to Virginia's delegation in Congress.

    http://hamptonroads.com/node/473153
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    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at https://eepurl.com/cktGTn

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