Do Arizona’s controversial immigration laws infringe on federal power? That’s the question the U.S. Supreme Court is weighing and it could have an impact on Virginia’s immigration laws.
After Arizona passed tough immigration laws in 2010, the Department of Justice challenged some parts, including requiring state police to verify immigration status when they have reasonable suspicion to think someone is not a legal resident. This past February a similar bill sponsored by Del. Richard Anderson (R) of Prince William County passed the Virginia House, but barely failed to pass a Virginia Senate committee.
Arizona passed the laws saying the federal government wasn’t doing enough to fight illegal immigration. Being so close to Mexico, state lawmakers said Arizona was taking on a disproportionate share of the costs involved in providing healthcare and schooling for illegal immigrants, as well as prosecuting them for criminal activity. Virginia, of course, isn’t close to Mexico, but according to federal numbers, the state has over 200,000 illegal immigrants.
The Supreme Court’s decision will address what power all states are going to have in the future on immigration enforcement. According to Claire Gutherie Gastanga the ACLU of Virginia, the decision shouldn’t affect any current Virginia laws on illegal immigration, but think the state has gone to the extreme in enforcing it.
We tried contacting Del. Anderson about what he thinks will come out of the justice’s decision, but he did not return our phone calls or emails at the time this story was published to our website. In the past, Del. Bob Marshall, an outspoken advocates of getting tough on illegal immigration, told us he hopes Virginia law enforcement officers will continue to check the legal presence of those who are arrested for other crimes to reduce crime in general, including the growth of gangs like MS-13.
Again, that decision on Arizona v. U.S. won’t come today. We’ve learned the Supreme Court added two more decision days, this Thursday and next Monday.