Day laborer debate surfaces in Va. race
The two Republican primary candidates in Virginia's 11th congressional district have waded into the debate over an immigrant day labor work center in Centreville, with both publicly opposing the plan.
Keith Fimian, an Oakton businessman seeking a second chance to try to unseat U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), issued a statement Thursday after Northern Virginia developer Albert J. Dwoskin proceeded with plans to build a day labor site on his Centreville Square Shopping Center property.
"With plans for a day-labor center moving forward, I join with Centreville residents and business owners in opposition," Fimian said in a statement. "As well intentioned as proponents of this project may be, it sends entirely the wrong message to people who have, in many cases, broken our laws to be here and invites a host of problems including increased potential for crime in the area."
Fimian also used the issue to once again attack Connolly on immigration, as well as his opponent, Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity, saying the Springfield Republican "had not made his position on this issue publicly known." He also referred to a quote Herrity gave the Washington Examiner in November 2008 in which he referred to some of Prince William County's immigration enforcement efforts as "mean-spirited."
"Despite having referred to Prince William County's efforts to enforce immigration laws as 'mean-spirited' in the past, I hope Supervisor Herrity will make his position known and do everything he can to stop this day-laborer center," Fimian said.
Herrity, too, has publicly opposed Dwoskin's work center plan, and reiterated his opposition Thursday.
"Will they be checking I-9's? No. They won't be checking that these men are working legally so, no, it won't work," he said.
Herrity also said his 2008 "mean-spirited" quote was referencing a "perception that Prince William was attacking immigrants period and not making a distinction between illegal and legal."
"We're a country of immigrants, but I have taken the lead in pushing Fairfax to deport our criminal illegal immigrants and enforce our laws," he said. "That's where I stand."
The two face off June 8 in the Republican primary.
-- Derek Kravitz
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