“Va. Panel on Immigration Steps Back From Hard Line”
The Washington Post reports the Virginia Panel on Immigration, created by Govenor Kaine, has come to realize that immigration is an issue that must be dealt with by the Federal Government.
RICHMOND — Virginia, known for some of the nation’s toughest policies on illegal immigration, appears to be abandoning its hard-line approach as state officials consider proposals to help foreign-born residents assimilate, including increasing the number of English classes.
In the coming weeks, the Virginia Commission on Immigration will send Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) two dozen recommendations, most of which would help immigrants instead of penalizing them.
During the General Assembly’s session this year, the number of immigration bills introduced was the highest in recent years, but most measures died. State and local governments found that they could do little to resolve the issue.
“This is really a federal issue,” Watkins said. “They have . . . pushed it down toward the states, and the time has come for them to deal with it. We have no jurisdiction.”
What was especially interesting is the realization that as a “wedge issue”, illegal immigration was a losing issue. As has been pointed out several times on antibvbl, 20 respresentatives from the “immigration caucus” lost their seats in this election.
Creedon said commission members recognized that in the past some immigration proposals were raised for “political purposes” and could not be enforced. “They wanted credit for taking a tough position, but you knew they wouldn’t be implemented,” he said.
Those on both sides of the issue say interest in immigration has waned because of the growing economic crisis, a clearer understanding of the state’s limitations on a largely federal issue and backlash at the voting booth.
“I think some reality set in,” said state Sen. John C. Watkins (R-Chesterfield), the group’s chairman.
Here are some of the recomendations by the committee. Imagine that, a formal committee actually created to determine, with expert advice, a reasonable path to deal with immigration issues. Reminds me of what our county LACKED when dealing with immigration.
The Immigration Commission spent more than a year writing recommendations for Kaine after public hearings that included expert testimony and comment from legislators and the Virginia Crime Commission. The proposals would have to be adopted by Kaine, the General Assembly or Congress.
The commission proposed increasing the number of English classes and creating a plan to address the needs of foreign-born residents. It also urged the federal government to compile more complete immigration statistics, increase the number of visas for foreign workers and pass comprehensive immigration legislation.