VACOLAO, VACIR, NAKASEC and allies applaud Virginia Governor McAuliffe’s decision to veto Anti-Immigrant Bills HB481 and SB270 (Detainer)
VACOLAO and allies are pleased with Governor McAuliffe’s decision to veto anti-immigrant bills HB481 and SB270 that would have negatively impacted immigrant communities in Virginia. Both bills would have prohibited the release of individuals held by state or local officials who are suspected of violating U.S. immigration laws. Virginia law already leaves it to the discretion of state and local law enforcement officials how to respond to lawful detainer orders received by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. These bills would have done nothing other than lead to further stigmatization of non-citizens in legal disputes with federal immigration officials and likely led to inequitable treatment.
Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, Legal Director of the Legal Aid Justice Center’s Immigrant Advocacy Program, said: “We are pleased that the governor has vetoed this bill, which would have had no positive effect on public safety but would have driven a knife into police-community relations in the immigrant community. It would have resulted in local sheriffs and jail wardens over-detaining immigrants, which in turn would have led to civil rights violations and civil rights lawsuits. Gov. McAuliffe’s veto – and the fact that he chose to issue his veto statement in Spanish as well as English – sends the message that immigrants are welcomed here in Virginia.”
Edgar Aranda-Yanoc, chair of Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO), said “These were message bills and were targeting our community. We made it a priority to push against them. We are relieved that they were vetoed today.”
Leni Gonzalez, chair of Virginia Coalition of Immigrant Rights (VACIR), said “Governor McAuliffe was elected by a majority of Virginians. He has vetoed two anti-immigrant bills because he understands that most Virginians want to move forward and not go back to the dark history of discriminatory laws. VACIR praises Governor McAuliffe for being on the ethical side of this argument. We also note that far too many are refusing to stand with the majority of Virginians on this issue. Senator Garrett and Delegate Marshall should recognize that undocumented Virginians contribute a great deal to our economy and communities. We hope that one day they will seek to progress immigration rights with Governor McAuliffe, instead hindering those who working hard to realize the American dream in Virginia.”
Dong Yoon Kim, Program Director, said: “We applaud Governor McAuliffe’s decision to stand strong with the immigrant community in Virginia by vetoing the hateful, anti-immigrant bills. We will continue to fight to keep our communities safe and empowered.”