Several bills were recently passed in the Virginia House of Delegates that intend to crack down on illegal immigration.
Among the provisions in the bills are rules that would require police to ask about the immigration status of anyone they arrest, according to the Washington Post. In addition, another bill would require colleges and universities in the state to establish written policies that would not allow illegal immigrants to enroll at the schools.
For some lawmakers, the provisions were long overdue.
“My thoughts are I regret that this is what it’s come to,” Republican Delegate Scott Lingamfelter told the news source. “I regret that the federal government has been so derelict in their duty that they have not enforced the laws of our land.”
However, not all state legislators shared Lingamfelter’s thoughts on the legislation.
“We pick on poor people. We pick on people who need healthcare. We pick on immigrants,” Democratic Delegate Patrick Hope told the Virginia Pilot.
In addition, a grass roots group from Hampton Roads made their way to the state Capitol to let lawmakers know they were opposed to some of the bills.
“We want reform, not punitive laws,” activist Ken Ehrenthal told the news source. “They’re not helpful, and they’re certainly not the solution.”