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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    VA: Hot-Button Topic on Back Burner

    Many politicians want the issue of illegal immigration to just go away so they don't have to address it.
    ~~~

    Hot-Button Topic on Back Burner

    By Derek Kravitz
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, June 6, 2009



    One in a series of articles about issues being discussed by the Democratic candidates for governor of Virginia, who will stand for the primary Tuesday.


    After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Virginia embraced some of the nation's toughest anti-illegal immigration measures, from ramped-up driver's license requirements to a policy in Prince William County that allows police to conduct on-the-spot checks of suspected illegal immigrants.

    But as the economy soured, the issue fell to the back burner. That has enabled the three candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for governor -- state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran -- to avoid taking a firm stance on the topic. Instead, they've walked a fine line between supporting comprehensive immigration reform and stressing that the issue is one for the federal government to tackle. Former Virginia attorney general Robert F. McDonnell, the Republican candidate, has also shied from the hot-button issue.

    "Several states seem to be getting the idea that there are stricter parameters in place [than] what they could act on," said Ann Morse, program director for the Immigration Policy Project at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington. "Now you're seeing many states and political candidates deciding to step back."

    In 2003, the General Assembly passed legislation requiring applicants for drivers licenses to provide proof of citizenship or legal presence in the United States, along with proof of Virginia residency. Culpeper and Virginia Beach have enacted tougher zoning and enforcement laws in recent years regarding undocumented immigrants. In Prince William, officials passed sweeping immigration-related measures in March 2008, curtailing government services to immigrants who lack documentation.

    Since then, Virginia lawmakers have retreated from the hard-line approach.

    "Illegal immigration is probably not an issue the candidates are going to bring up unless it's brought up to them," said state Sen. John C. Watkins (R-Chesterfield), the chairman of the governor-convened Virginia Commission on Immigration. "I'm a Republican, so I can say this: Let's face it, the Republicans do not want a witch hunt about the Hispanic population."

    The three Democratic candidates have tip-toed around the topic. Most notable is McAuliffe, a former national Democratic Party chairman, who was criticized in January 2007 for comments about shutting "these borders down" on a California radio station.

    "I don't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican, we all agree you've got to shut the borders down," he said at the time. "People who are coming into this nation taking our jobs."

    Since then, McAuliffe has softened his rhetoric. During a News Channel 8/Washington Post-sponsored debate last month, McAuliffe said he believed an "inviting environment" should be fostered in Virginia for immigrants.

    "We don't want the word going out that we are shutting our counties down," he said.

    At the same debate, Deeds and Moran criticized Prince William's immigration policy, with Deeds asking, "Who in the world is going to do the work . . . the jobs necessary in Prince William County?"

    Moran, a former state delegate from Alexandria, might be taking the most immigration-friendly approach of the three candidates, supporting a plan that would allow undocumented immigrants access to state colleges and universities at the full tuition rate.

    As attorney general, McDonnell supported local Virginia jurisdictions entering into 287(g) agreements with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But in the wake of party defeats in vote-heavy Northern Virginia, McDonnell has adopted a more centrist approach -- one that leaves out ideological issues such as immigration.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member azwreath's Avatar
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    But as the economy soured, the issue fell to the back burner. That has enabled the three candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for governor -- state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran -- to avoid taking a firm stance on the topic. Instead, they've walked a fine line between supporting comprehensive immigration reform and stressing that the issue is one for the federal government to tackle. Former Virginia attorney general Robert F. McDonnell, the Republican candidate, has also shied from the hot-button issue




    My question is this: Who has enabled them to shy away from the issue?
    Has anyone? Or do they just assume that they can?

    The point is this........it doesn't matter which state it is in. For months now we've been hearing about politicians being "able" to avoid the issue of illegal immigration because of "more pressing" concerns.

    DON'T let any of them get away with it!!!

    Every single one of the issues.......the economy, unemployment, health care, whatever.....that it is claimed that people are MORE concerned about than illegal immigration, are, in fact, issues related to illegal immigration and I don't believe for a second that voters are willing to put this on the back burner.

    All I see is more of the same 'ol, same 'ol ......if they repeat it enough they just might be able to convince the public to believe it.
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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