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August 4th, 2010
12:00 PM ET

Virginia targets illegal immigrants

Six-year-old Rahel Williams holds up a flag during a ceremony where she and 24 other children became U.S. citizens on May 21, 2010 in Chantilly, Virginia. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(CNN) – The Obama administration took Arizona to court to block the most controversial provisions of the state's new immigration law. Now, another state may be in the cross-hairs. Virginia's attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, issued a legal opinion yesterday that authorizes police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop for legitimate reasons. He joined us on Wednesday's American Morning to discuss how his opinion would be applied. Watch Video

Filed under: Immigration
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Oracle

    First of all everyone say that the illegal immigrants are burden on resources. I hope we all agree that most of the illegal Immigrants who come are young looking for work. So rarely they go to Hospitals and secondly for the fear of getting caught they do not show at hospital. So how many are using our resources, about less then 1%. This is easy to blame and we have no solid reason other then quickly blame it on illegal Immigrants. So now other say we have burden on schools, if they are going to schools this means that they are learning English but everyone is saying they have to learn English if they want to stay here. So i don't see you guys point of complaning. Also I always believed in FIRST come First OUT. So We forcefully took CA, TX other states from Latinos first so we should go out first .

    August 5, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  2. NJ Resident

    Being a LEGAL U.S. Citizen, adopted from Colombia, a taxpayer and coming from a family who arrived in the US from Ellis Island, I completely support the actions of Arizona and Virgina. I will have no problem carrying around a duplicate birth certificate (which can be purchase from the hospital for around $5 to $15), and my passport to show proof of my identity and being a legal citizen; its just like carrying around a Drivers License.

    I am curious to see if New Jersey will eventually start enforcing these laws, which have been enstated for as long as I remember.

    Not too long ago, NJ State police was considered the most racially profiling group of law enforcement in the USA, and, since then, has gone from pulling over just "minorities" to pulling over EVERYONE ALL THE TIME!

    I believe it will only be a matter of time before history repeats itself... NJ State Police start questioning minorities–which leads to civil suits–which leads to them questioning everyone and scaring the speedy gonzalez legs into illegals.

    I just find this whole illegal immigrant questioning issue to be ridiculous. We should have taken care of this issue a long time ago, but decided to let it go and fester in our nation. Now the taxpayers, regardless of political stance, must pay for this lapse in immigration enforcement.

    And to anyone who works for ICE, when my uncle passed away, he was escorted at his funeral by Immigration and Law Enforcement, and when latinos saw the convoy coming, they literally jumped fences and booked it! (It was quite amusing in an overall sad day.)
    My suggestion, try and create a crack team of immigration specialists in every city in the nation to aid in your slow progress.

    August 5, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  3. Dan G.

    There is a very simple solution and that is for the Federal government to enforce current laws. The IRS knows that there are multiple people using the same SSN but do nothing, santuary cities allow illegals who have committed crimes to go free, know illegal workers are given a pass, illegal immigrants have killed more than a thousand people in accidents not to mention crimes yet many aren't deported. It's time to stop allowing individuals to break our immigration laws and act like it isn't a crime. It's time to stop using the false claim of racisim against those who want our immigration laws enforced, and want to stop the drain on education, medical, and social services by those who take advantage of illegal immigration along with those who look the other way.

    August 5, 2010 at 9:56 am |
  4. Sirius

    I wish people would stop refering to the illegals as "immigrants". They are NOT immigrants: you become an immigrant when you have gone through the formalities imposed by the USCIS. Until then you are an "alien" or a "non-immigrant", the terminology varies depending on your category of entry into the US. Illegals cannot, by definition, be immigrants. They can become immigrants if they go the legal way, but until then, let's call them what they are: unlawfully present aliens.

    I also want to respond to the commentator who said that legal immigrants should be required to carry their green cards or visa documents, just like American citizens are required to carry their drivers licenses or IDs. I don't argue with the first point, since federal law already requires immigrants to carry proof of their immigration status, but I would just like to point out that carrying a drivers license does NOT prove a thing! Legal immigrants as well as (I'm sure) lots of illegal people have drivers licenses as well. The problem is: if the police stops an American-born citizen (e.g. of Hispanic ethnicity) and asks him to prove that he's in the country legally, should he be required to carry his passport or birth certificate to be able to show such proof? As far as I know, these are the only two documents that can actually PROVE one's American citizenship. And doesn't that pose an unreasonable burden for lots of Americans, who would now have to get (expensive) copies of their birth certificates and/or passports to carry with them at all times?
    I have no solution, I'm just asking...

    August 5, 2010 at 9:48 am |
  5. Bessie85

    Finally, we are beginning to understand that our taxes cannot continue to rise to cover those that do not pay taxes....If Virginia would just stop
    Medicaid and Welfare abuse by not offering a free ride to the pregnant
    teens and making it look so appealing!! One step at a time!!!!

    August 5, 2010 at 8:40 am |
  6. she

    to JillAmerican: No one is targetting children. If you are a responsible adult here in America, you will be carrying state issued identification, that is what you present to a police officer should you be asked to.

    Do you really think that we have no right to prevent the influx, no, I mean FLOOD of ILLEGALs into our already over-burdened systems? And if not, why do you believe we have no fundamental right to do so? the states most affected by the financial strain of supporting illegals are doing exactly what they should be doing to protect the legal American citizens.

    The police will 'magically' know who to check status on when they do what they are trained and always do in the carrying out of their duties.

    Is there potential for abuse of this 'checking?" Sure, just like there is potential for abuse of any system, however, with the proper training and oversight the abuses should be easily avoided. To insinuate that America has NO right to designate who can come here from another country, for what purpose, and who must leave is just childish and dangerous thinking.

    Foreigners do not have the right to determine policy here, it's that simple.

    August 5, 2010 at 8:36 am |
  7. Terry

    I live in Virginia too but laws like this scare me a bit. I fully agree that illegal immigrants are a problem. They take American jobs, flood the healthcare system, and fill up the schools all without paying the taxes that cover these services.

    If you go to a hospital, you see (at least what look to me like) immigrants filling the emergency rooms. Why? Because they can't pay for the service in a clinic and they know a hospital cannot turn them away. Sad!

    The scary thing here is how do you prevent the racial profiling that these laws allow? You may not think so but humans will be humans. Any cop, that has a family member or friend that can't get a job because immigrants are cheaper to hire, is going to feel like extracting some kind of revenge whether they are aware of it or not. It can't be helped. We are what we are. Well, for a member of the law enforcement community, that is wrong!

    Think about how you would feel if you are a true citizen of the US. Maybe you are of Jewish, Asian, or even of Hispanic decent. If you are a LEGAL citizen, do you want the police stopping you and questioning your right to be here? I seriously doubt you do.

    Believe me, I am not saying do nothing. What I think the country needs is more enforcement of the laws that are already in place. Crack down more on the people that are hiring the illegals and enact larger fines for these businesses. When the jobs dry up, they will leave. Enforce tighter control at the borders. Stop them from coming in illegally in the first place.

    This country is strong because of our diverse culture. I don't want us to become like the Nazis and believe in a master race. Our diversity and equality make us who we are. But, by the same token, if you want to come to the US, there are LEGAL ways to do it. If you follow the legal path to citizenship, we will welcome you with open arms.

    August 5, 2010 at 8:15 am |
  8. Elizabeth

    I'm finally proud to be a Virginian!

    August 5, 2010 at 7:40 am |
  9. Chip

    I live in Manassas, VA. Prince William County was the first county in VA to enact the law that county police could request proof of citizenship from anyone arrested....key word arrested. Other counties followed. This ruling expands the law to include anyone suspicious....not just those arrested. The effect has been great on the community. Within weeks of the initial passage hundreds of illegal aliens moved out of the county and into neighboring Fairfax County, VA. Guess what, Fairfax complained that they could not afford the mass migration....duh! Enrollment in schools went up (ESL) and hospitals reported an increase in illegals. That says something in itself. Passage of these laws pushes the illegals out....cut the services and the illegals will leave.

    August 5, 2010 at 7:25 am |
  10. John Johnson

    It's about time. I live in VA and see these illegal people everyday. Change must come from the indivduals that are hiring these people to make more money. I'm tired of the Mexico goverment telling us how to run our country!!! I'm tired of seeing the Mexican flag being wavied in my face. I'm voting for the GOP this time around and anyone that will start to correct this problem. Mexico puts you in jail for two years if you stay work and are illegal? This country has become a bunch of cowards that are unwilling to do the right thing.

    These people are criminals and need to leave!!!

    August 5, 2010 at 7:18 am |
  11. Dott

    Oh yes and why do people who have broken the law of the USA have RIGHTS? Criminals have no rights. You come to my house uninvited and live with me living off my dime you have no right to come and definitely no right to stay. I will not reward you for your crime. Illegal immigrants must not be rewarded for their crime. No Amnesty – go home. My ancestors came in the right way through Ellis Island. They were DOCUMENTED, checked for disease and were Legal Immigrants. Can you pro-illegals understand that? Speak up and vote for the person that wishes to uphold our laws. I am!

    August 5, 2010 at 6:52 am |
  12. Dott

    I hope that the state of Florida will soon adopt some of these laws. We are losing our nation. After 9/11 you would have expected our borders to be closed and a search for anyone in our nation without that invitation. Once found sent back to their country. Some people can't seem to grasp the fact that these people are criminals. AND yes they take jobs away from Americans. People with a criminal record can't get a job because the day of the computer allows employers to search the prospective employee's past. Americans who made a few mistakes in their youth has their records checked and denied those jobs but illegals take those jobs because there is no way to check their criminal history. Coming in without an proper paperwork is a crime. Hiring them should be also.

    August 5, 2010 at 6:44 am |
  13. TriumPatriot

    Thank you! Yes, this reads as it should: It doesn't read "Virginia targets immigrants" like the Spanish media would do but it does read "Virginia targets ILLEGAL immigrants"

    August 5, 2010 at 5:37 am |
  14. TriumPatriot

    Virginia follows Arizona! Arriba Law and Order!

    August 5, 2010 at 5:35 am |
  15. RML

    "Targets" illegal immigrants? Illegal aliens make targets of themselves. At least 75% of the population already knows this.

    August 4, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  16. Tammy B

    I live in Arizona and fully support the law. I don't think that it's too much to ask that people carry their green cards, and resident visas with them like citizens have to carry their driver's licenses or ID's.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  17. Thomas Watkins

    The only people being targeted now are the members of congress who still refuse to allocate the necessary resources to enforce our current laws. Every time I watch the news I become a little more disgusted with our fed govt.

    August 4, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  18. LA Veteran

    Illegal is Illegal!

    August 4, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  19. LA Veteran

    Good. The more states that do this the better. If not the entire US will look like Los Angeles. Immigration that is staedy and includes assimilation is good, but a mass flood with no end in sight is going to be our downfall. Most illegal immigrants send a majority of their earnings home. Their nest egg is for retiring in their native country. this does the US no good. Come visit LA if you don"t agree. Hospitals are shutting down, schools are overcrowded, the police are stretched thin>

    August 4, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  20. jack h

    eventually it will get thru to everyone in washington, dc that the american people are fed up with illegal immigration. NO AMNEST, NO PATHWAY TO CITIZENSHIP FOR ANYONE IN THE U.S. WHO IS HERE ILLEGALLY. if they want to be citizens, i suggest they obey or laws, learn english, and GO HOME. then you can start the process of immigration from the back of the line.

    August 4, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  21. Smith in Oregon

    Who cares what the Republican Potty'ticians want, especially from the utterly corrupt States of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arizona, South Carolina, Utah and Texas? If they were a majority in power they'd either rewrite the 14th. constitutional amendment or illegally go around it like the depraved and utterly corrupt Bush-Cheney often did with various constitutional and legal statues. The Republican Potty of NO has no ideas and no help but loads of racist and heartless solutions to strike back at America's first Black President, how original!

    Today's federal judge ruling that Prop. 8 was Unconstitutional is another huge blow against the entire Republican Potty. The Republican Potty's day's are coming to a well deserved racist and bigoted END.

    August 4, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  22. lia

    I'm waiting until they close the USA to anyone period. Just read that republicans want to change the 14 amendment so that those BORN here are not USA citizens automatically. WOW I'm already saving up to leave this so called land of opportunity and live elsewhere.

    August 4, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  23. HappyinVA

    I love my state of VA and I'm a proud Virginian... but I'm not proud of AG Cuccinelli and the decision that has been made.

    August 4, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  24. Lewis Moore

    At some point, the people of most states adversely affected by illegal immigration will demand that our laws are enforced. The open borders and amnesty crowd are contributing to the ruination of our nation. Rise up and resist!!

    August 4, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  25. texaslady2

    Good for him. Anyone who is a US citizen or is here legally should have no problem, and if someone is here illegally, who cares about their problems? Find the illegals and send them home.

    August 4, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
  26. Concerned not Crazy

    The Democrats will do absolutely nothing to stop illegal immigration. They don't even have the guts to refer to people as "illegal". Immigrants aren't bad. Our nation is rich because of our mix of cultures. However, this illegal flood of poor, uneducated, mostly mexican refugees is horrible. Let's face it. Mexico, El Salvador, Guatamala et al are not sending their best and brightest.

    Illegal immigration depresses wages, has huge public healthcare and education costs. The costs are born by the governent that is funded overwhelmingly by the top 10% of wage earners that generally don't vote democratic. Dems are waging class warfare pitting poor foreigners against tax paying americans.

    The Dems like it because these folks have lots of kids and those poor uneducated kids (US citizens) when they turn 18 will vote democatic. The Dems want as many illegals as possible because it gives them a huge pool of poor voters that will be dependent on a democratic government to take care of them..

    Its as simple as that.

    August 4, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
  27. Keith Long

    Good for Arizona, Virginia and a few other states. Hopefully, many more states will follow suit. If the federal government will not enforce the immigration laws the states, with the backing of 70% of the American people, will have to do it. If the federal politicians continue to ignore the majority of the people, they will not be long in office.

    August 4, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
  28. Dave

    I live in VA and can understand the concern over illegal immigrants, the drain on public resources such as schools, emergency services and public services. However, my concern is that this proposed rule or law is a very slippery slope and that is what I think most are missing in the bigger picture.

    Whats to say that anyone who looks jewish, african, european, asian cannot be questioned and detained based on the "assumption" that they are illegal? They look different so maybe they are illegal. I know this is intended for immigrants from south of the border but it can be used for other purposes against other ethnicities as well in the future. That is the bigger concern, distorting the law from its intended purpose to use in other, unintended ways.

    Also, anyone who thinks most of these immigrants are taking jobs away from Americans is sadly mistaken. I do not see Americans lining up to go pick lettuce/tomatoes, lay roofing tile in 100+ F temps or work late evening,part-time hours with no benefits to empty the trash bins out of office buildings. It does not pay well enough for most Americans and to be frank, is beneath most as well. Yea, they are stealing our jobs!

    August 4, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
  29. JillAmerican

    Instead of asking him how thw law would apply to a student here on a visa not carrying paperwork she should have asked him what if HE (Cuccinelli) is stopped and asked for paperwork – should HE be arrested because he's not carrying it? He looks Hispanic so it coudl happen.

    Or what about a child that is adopted and doesn't have paperwork on them? Arrested?

    What about ANY citizen that doesn't have paperwork?

    The assumption of these people that police will just magically know who to ask to papers without using racial profiling is just mind-boggling!

    August 4, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
  30. Nancy McCormick

    Two reasons Republicans are championing this cause at this time. First; Math. There are already enough minorities and white liberals to have voted in a black president, and the old white guys are seeing themselves marginalized. They are worried because the children of illegal immigrants will be future voters.

    Two; They need a dog to kick. They need a common enemy to unite the right .

    Washington State

    August 4, 2010 at 1:02 pm |