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Posted at 10:03 AM ET, 08/12/2010

Immigration opinion was a matter of duty

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Ken Cuccinelli,
Richmond
The writer is attorney general of Virginia.

The Aug. 10 editorial “Mr. Cuccinelli chimes in” accused me of “grandstanding about immigration matters that require no clarification.”

When a Virginia legislator asks for my office’s official opinion on a matter of law, I answer it. I am obliged as attorney general to do so. I do not choose the timing of a request as it relates to court rulings in Arizona or crimes committed by illegal aliens in Virginia. The fact that there was a request would seem to indicate that there was a need for clarification.

Additionally, contrary to what the editorial said, my office did not call a news conference to discuss the opinion. We held a news conference to discuss our health-care lawsuit. The only reason we answered immigration questions that day is because a Washington Post reporter asked one at that news conference.

I also repeatedly stated in interviews with news outlets that this was not a groundbreaking opinion. I even sent a statement indicating such to The Post last week. The opinion was merely an explanation of the law as it stands, based on the law as written, as well as on previous relevant court decisions.

The editorial misled readers by stating that “state and local law enforcement officers should not be in the business of rounding up foreign-looking or foreign-sounding individuals to check on immigration status in the absence of a criminal violation.”

This is not a new stop power for police, and our opinion clearly advises against arresting people for simple civil infractions rather than criminal violations. We also state that when police perform a lawful traffic stop, they can ask about immigration status so long as that does not prolong the length of the stop. Even the U.S. Supreme Court has said that this is permissible.


By washingtonpost.com editors  | August 12, 2010; 10:03 AM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Va. Politics, Virginia, immigration, media  
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Comments

I only wish we had law enforcement in Maryland that would actually ENFORCE the immigration laws. I've lived in Montgomery County my entire life, and I'm getting sick of this "sanctuary state" nonsense.

Don't Press "1" for English!

Posted by: momosity1 | August 12, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

"they can ask about immigration status so long as that does not prolong the length of the stop"

How would asking a question, gaining a response, and (presumably) verifying the response NOT prolong the stop.


By what criteria does an officer ask such a question? Or are officers then required to ask this of everyone they stop, to ensure fair enforcement?

Posted by: Greent | August 12, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

How is immigration status not obvious in a routine traffic stop? The driver either has a license or he doesn't. If he doesn't, he gets arrested. If he does, the license number can be run just like they already would do for outstanding warrants.

But we'd rather focus on fearing the WOP.

Posted by: jiji1 | August 12, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

If we spent as much money helping counties that need our help, like Mexico, as we do on countries that do not need our help, like Israel, we would save millions if not billions.

Posted by: marrobcastle | August 12, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I only wish we had law enforcement in Maryland that would actually ENFORCE the immigration laws. I've lived in Montgomery County my entire life, and I'm getting sick of this "sanctuary state" nonsense.

Don't Press "1" for English!

Posted by: momosity1 | August 12, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse
**************************************************************************************

I join with momosity1 in his/her statement regarding immigration and the Montgomery County, State of Maryland sanctuary position.

Like momosity1, I am a lifetime resident of Montgomery County and would like to witness an enforcement strategy on the part of all Maryland Law Enforcement Officer (LEO), and State Prosecutors.

Illegal immigration is a menace to America and all state LEO's must do their part and not continue to ignore the problem.

Posted by: jnrentz@aol.com | August 12, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Sorry General: It's doubtful that The Post will believe you.

After all, you are a suspicious character; i.e., White, Male, Virginian, Republican and a law enforcement guy with the weird notion that as Attorney General you are duty bound to enforce the laws of the Commonwealth, as enacted by your superiors, "the people".

Posted by: samscram | August 13, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Hey Cuccinelli, the truth hurts, huh?

Instead of grandstanding and misleading people into thinking traffic stops are at the heart of the immigration problem, why don't you do your freaking job and go after employers who hire undocumented workers?

Traffic stops won't stop illegal immigration and you know it.
Fining and arresting employers who hire undocumented workers will solve the problem and give jobs to millions of Americans who need them.
Man up and do your job and stop showboating and grandstanding.

Posted by: MarilynManson | August 13, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Let's drive people out of Virginia like they have in AZ. That will really boost the economy.

Posted by: Falmouth1 | August 13, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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