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Anti-immigrant Bills in Richmond Don't Mirror the New Reality in Virginia

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VirginiaAccording to today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch, GOP legislators in Virginia’s State House have set their sights on immigrant bashing legislation:

The highest-profile of the bunch is House Bill 2332, sponsored by Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William, which would require state and local law enforcement officers to make inquiries into a person’s citizenship status upon arrest.

Currently, legal status is checked only when someone is taken into custody at a jail. The new legislation would apply to those arrested by police but released on bail or bond before being incarcerated.

“Make no mistake about, if the Congress of the United States did their job, we would not be dealing with this,” said Lingamfelter, defending the bill. “But they are not dealing with the problem and it is at our footstep.”

Del. Joseph D. Morrissey, D-Henrico, gave a fiery floor speech in opposition, calling the bill racial profiling.

We agree with Lingamfelter that Congress needs to do its job.  And, we absolutely agree with Morrissey that this constitutes racial profiling. It sure looks like Lingamfelter and his colleagues are trying to create a hostile environment for immigrants and people of color in his state. But, while Lingamfelter has been drafting anti-immigrant bills, his county – and his state – are changing around him.