Immigration opinion was a matter of duty
By Ken Cuccinelli,
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.
| August 12, 2010; 10:03 AM ET
Categories: HotTopic, Va. Politics, Virginia, immigration, media
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