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Posted at 5:42 PM ET, 11/29/2010

How curious: Cuccinelli vs. Stewart

By Peter Galuszka

Holy demagogue!

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.

Peter Galuszka blogs at Bacon's Rebellion. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Peter Galuszka  | 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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Comments

Last week, the University of Virginia released a 3-yr study of Virginia’s Prince William County’s immigration enforcement ordinance which concluded that the ordinance had helped reduce the county’s illegal alien population by 2,000 to 6,000 over the course of two years. During the same time period, hit-and-run accidents in the county went down by nearly half and aggravated assaults dropped by 47 percent. In addition, the study showed that the ordinance helped reduce serious problems of overcrowding in housing in certain areas of the county. Finally, the study also found that there was “no evidence of overzealous or inappropriate immigration enforcement actions by police.” While the study suggested that the ordinance disrupted some police-community relationships, it found that these quickly returned.

Posted by: mayaying | November 29, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Chairman Stewart, for representing the citizens of this country. Thank you very much. American citizens have been abused enough already.

Posted by: vickie105 | November 29, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Is it too much to ask that elected officials stop violating the Constitution? Ends do not justify means, at least in the country.

When Ken Cucinelli tells you an anti-immigrant policy is unConstitutional, any decent person who loves our Constitution would stop right there.

Posted by: krickey7 | November 30, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

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