How curious: Cuccinelli vs. Stewart
Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli is dissing the anti-illegal-immigrant "Virginia Rule of Law Campaign" masterminded by Corey A. Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.
Stewart has based his campaign, which involves state legislation that would require all law officers in Virginia to check the immigration status of anyone they arrest and enact a host of other tough measures, on the law that Prince William passed in 2007, as well as Arizona's controversial statewide provision.
Cuccinelli, the hard-right top state lawyer, usually plays to get-tough immigration policies. But not this time.
Asked for an opinion on Stewart's proposed legislation by Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William), Cuccinelli has come out with a scathing review that claims that many of Stewart's proposals are unconstitutional or unnecessary.
The attorney general, for instance, says that Virginia law already permits officers to check an arrestee's immigration status if there is a "reasonable suspicion" that the person is in the country illegally.
Another of Stewart's proposed provisions would allow a legal resident of the state to sue any local or state entity that restricts a law officer from enforcing federal immigration laws and says that any money won from such challenges would go to fight gangs and illegal immigration. Cuccinelli advises that this is unconstitutional because any fees from such legal challenges have to go to the state literary fund.
Cuccinelli's opinions stunned Stewart, who wants the upcoming General Assembly session to push tougher immigration laws. "I'm very disappointed," Stewart was quoted as saying. "I run into a lot of opposition in fighting illegal immigration, and almost all of that comes from either pro-amnesty and The Washington Post and other liberals. I certainly didn't expect this attack from the back by Cuccinelli."
There are two ways of looking at this curious turn of events. One is that Cuccinelli might actually be doing his job rather than using the attorney general's office as a bully pulpit for his dogmatic views.
The other is that Virginia isn't big enough for two tough-guy sheriffs.
| November 29, 2010; 5:42 PM ET
Categories: HotTopic, Local blog network, Prince William County, Va. Politics, Virginia, crime, economy, immigration, media, police
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