WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a national organization supporting immigration reform in the public interest, is urging the Virginia General Assembly to act swiftly to send two bills to Gov. Terry McAuliffe's desk. The bills would prohibit cities and counties from releasing criminal aliens in their custody when an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer request has been issued for that individual, and would effectively bar localities from implementing sanctuary policies that shield illegal aliens.
House Bill 481 requires law enforcement to maintain custody of a criminal alien if ICE issues a detainer. It also takes the important step of compensating any person injured by a criminal alien released in violation of its provisions. The bill has already been approved by the House of Delegates and is awaiting action in the Senate.
Senate Bill 270 prohibits localities from enacting any ordinance, procedure, or policy that restricts the enforcement of federal immigration law, and strips funding from any locality that adopts a sanctuary policy. That bill now awaits action in the House.
"First and foremost, these bills would protect public safety in Virginia. Illegal aliens who have been released from custody, or shielded by local sanctuary policies, have been directly responsible for needless tragedies across the nation and in Virginia," said Dan Stein, president of FAIR.
In 2010, Sister Denise Mosier was killed and two other nuns were seriously injured by Carlos Martinelly-Montano, an illegal alien who had two previous DUI convictions on his record. After his first DUI conviction Montano was released by Prince William County because officials did not contact ICE. Montano was released again after his second conviction by Fairfax County officials who did not inform ICE. And, just weeks before killing Sister Denise Mosier, Manassas Park police did not contact ICE when they cited Montano for reckless driving.
In spite of this and other crimes committed by illegal aliens who were shielded by local authorities, Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Franklin, Montgomery, Prince William, Pulaski, Richmond, Roanoke, Scott, Southampton, and Virginia Beach all maintain sanctuary policies or refuse to comply with ICE detainer requests.
"Whether sanctuary or non-compliance policies are declared, or are a matter of general practice, they present a clear and present danger to the people of Virginia and they must be ended," continued Stein. "The General Assembly must act with urgency to ratify HB 481 and SB 270 and Gov. McAuliffe must sign them into law.
"If the General Assembly fails to act, or if the governor vetoes these measures, the people of Virginia must hold them accountable for any avoidable tragedies that occur as a result of politically driven sanctuary policies they refused end," Stein concluded.
Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country's largest immigration reform group. With more than 250,000 members nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests. FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced.
SOURCE Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)