Va. Gubernatorial Candidate Backs Police Detention Of Illegal Aliens
Kilgore: Fairfax Should Cancel Plans For Day-Laborer Facilities
POSTED: 3:22 pm EDT August 8, 2005
UPDATED: 3:34 pm EDT August 8, 2005
RICHMOND, Va. -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore on Monday denounced public funding for immigrant day-laborer centers and supported a proposal to give police authority to indefinitely detain arrested illegal immigrants and turn them over to federal immigration authorities.
In a news conference with Del. David Albo, R-Fairfax County, Kilgore called on Fairfax County to drop its plans to use $400,000 to establish three facilities that serve as gathering places for illegal immigrants to offer their services for such jobs as mowing, carpentry or other arduous physical labor.
"To use taxpayer dollars to make employment of those who are here illegally is to further encourage that illegal behavior," Kilgore said.
He also called on his Democratic rival, Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, to also oppose the magnet sites in Fairfax County and Herndon around which illegal aliens cluster daily.
A Kaine spokesman had no immediate response to the comment.
Kilgore's news conference brings into the governor's race one of the most perennially emotional and contentious issues before the General Assembly each year.
Last year, a bill that would have prohibited admission to state-supported colleges and universities for illegal or undocumented aliens passed the House of Delegates before it was killed in a Senate committee after a lengthy, caustic and often personal debate.
A bill Albo sponsored that bars the state or local government from extending government-backed benefits to immigrants in the United States illegally passed and becomes effective on Jan. 1.
Albo said the day laborer centers are a bad idea unless the immigrant applicants are somehow vetted.
"My position is these day labor centers are a good idea if and only if they do some type of screening to make sure that the people who are using it are here, legally present in the United States," Albo said.
Without the centers, however, workers desperate for a paycheck gather by the scores outside convenience stores in areas of Fairfax County with large immigrant populations. They wait there in the mornings for contractors looking for cheap labor that few people are willing to perform.
Albo intends to submit the legislation in the coming legislative session that would allow authorities who arrest an alien for a crime have the ability to keep him in custody for transfer to the federal government for deportation if the alien is not in the country legally.
Kilgore said he would make exceptions for the large numbers of people whose earnest efforts to legitimize their residence in the United States has languished for years in the backlogged federal agencies.
"We have made exceptions for those who have made their applications, who have had issues with the federal bureaucracy, but what we are dealing with today is those who are illegally here -- deliberately illegally here -- and Fairfax County now trying to give them another benefit by building these labor pickup sites," Kilgore said.
Kilgore and Albo rejected suggestions that his campaign was exploiting public fears of immigrants or even racial and ethnic prejudice for political gain.
"We are dealing with this issue because of taxpayer dollars being used and public safety concerns we have," Kilgore said.
Albo said the issue is not necessarily a racial or ethnic one because the people most upset about illegal aliens in his immigrant-rich district where he is campaigning for re-election are legal immigrants.
"I had one guy (whose) door I knocked on say, `Yeah, I'm trying to get my family over here the right way and we have to go through all these procedures, and they have to wait in line, and it makes them so angry that other people can just walk across the border and go get a job," Albo said.
I hope that's a typo because I can't understand how a bill passed "illegally".A bill Albo sponsored that bars the state or local government from extending government-backed benefits to immigrants in the United States illegally passed and becomes effective on Jan. 1.