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Connolly Consultant: Immigration Issue Headed South

Bill Turque

The pollster for Fairfax County Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) says his re-election campaign provides an example of how illegal immigration can be turned into "a second-tier issue" by candidates who emphasize problem-solving and leadership.

Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners, told a conference call of reporters Tuesday that attacks on immigration were less successful than those dealing with transportation and taxes because Connolly "leaned into the issue" with an early and firm stance. Connolly, running against Republican Gary H. Baise, has said the county would focus on illegal behavior, not immigration status, and that he would not support withholding government services.

Baise has pledged to cooperate with Prince William County Chairman Corey A. Stewart, (R) who has made immigration a centerpiece of his campaign and criticized Connolly for not taking a harder line. Baise said if elected he would follow Prince William's lead and push to enroll Fairfax police in a program run by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency that gives selected officers instant access to federal immigration data.
Lake said Connolly deflected the issue by strongly stating that Fairfax will be "one community."

"He has refused to move on his position, which is very much progressive...This has not been the most successful attack, despite their efforts they have been unable to make this stick."

Her comments came in a telephone briefing by a panel of pollsters sponsored by, a group formed by Democratic political consultants to to track how the issue is playing in races across the country.

Peter Brodnitz, a principal at Benenson Strategy Group, said candidates in Virginia's General Assembly contests would be unwise to ignore the issue but "once you engage in the debate there is no partisan advantage on this.

"If there is going to be any electoral impact in Virginia this year because of immigration maybe we would see it in Prince William. That is the one part of the state where there may be a local impact, but a lot of that has to do with the way individual campaigns have played out, who has more money, and who is more entrenched. And the fact that Prince William is, notwithstanding the last couple of elections where it went Democratic, a Republican county naturally."

His advice to Democrats: "Don't try to outflank Republicans on the right by being draconian. [Instead talk about] trying some real solutions...the need for real progress, some practical things. Once that happens, the issue goes away and campaigns focus on other issues. Who's going to deal with education? Transportation? Taxes?"

By Bill Turque  |  November 1, 2007; 2:41 PM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque , Fairfax County Chairman's Race 2007 , Immigration , Polls  
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Illegal immmigration is a federal issue. Supplying illegal aliens with various benefits and assistance is a local issue.

Mr. Connolly's "behavior vs status" statement is slick but bogus. It does not stand up to honest examination because to enable others to break the law is to flaunt the rule of law.

Mr. Baise is to be commended for his pledge to cooperate with ICE agents in enforcing the law. It may be a matter of national security.

Posted by: Gerrie | November 1, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I fully agree with Gerrie! Illegals are in fact illegal and a potential security threat. How does anyone know who is crossing over/under the border? Do we know what they carry across and what they are planning. Yet we citizens must go through "security checks". They do cost Fax and the State a great deal of money in subsidized housing and an enormous amount in medical care in the Fax Free Clinics (4 of them) Also, do not forget the cost to our hospitals which must treat anyone with or without payment. How many phoney Medicaid/Medicare cards are out there not to mention those that say they are eligible. By the time the bill comes due they are in the wind.

Posted by: Joanie | November 1, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Article quote RE: "Connolly, running against Republican Gary H. Baise, has said the county would focus on illegal behavior, not immigration status, and that he would not support withholding government services."
Connolly is right. Illegal behavior occurs in many forms.
Illegal presence by aliens is a CIVIL offense. It is illegal, and even though there is obvious impact, it is not nearly as serious as felony offenses. That is the "other side" of the "Rule of Law".

SERIOUS FELONIES and DWI are not tolerable and all should be deportable offenses.

GANGS obviously require strong attention and enforcement. That is why there ALREADY is a NoVa Gang Task Force, originally initiated by the Town of Herndon Police Chief years ago.

ABOUT 287 (g) and deporting aliens:
Over 4000 domestic law enforcement agencies in this country are not participating in 287(g) because that emphasis seriously undermines community policing.
Of the handful who are participating, there are some fully predictable unintended bad consequences. The Major Cities Chiefs Immigration Committee Recommendations should be the guide for police roles, and the International Assoc. of Chiefs of Police report: "Police Chief's Guide to Immigration Issues" is instructive.

DEPORT CRIMINALS. Supervisor Connolly does support greater emphasis on deporting CRIMINAL illegal aliens by making sure that correctional personnel are involved with 287(g). In reality, Fairfax Co. already works closely with ICE to deport convicted criminals--so they won't be returned to the streets by our facilities.
WHY does Connolly already work closely with ICE? THAT IS ALREADY THE LAW! In reality, there are a couple of laws in the Commonwealth of Virginia that apply.
(1) 1950 (last amended in 1994) -- Sheriffs and the department of corrections required to identify criminal aliens in Virginia jails and prisons and report them to the Central Criminal Records Exchange, §53.1-218 of the Code of Virginia,

(2) 1950 (last amended 1982) Clerks of court required to furnish court records to ICE regarding any alien committed to a correctional facility after conviction, 53.1-219 of the Code of Virginia,

FAIRFAX COUNTY ALREADY IS FOLLOWING THE LAW. and Fairfax at least knows this and has been following it a whole lot more than Prince William County, where their hard-charging headline-grabbing Chairman or the Board of Supervisors apparently has been ignoring existing laws, in favor of jumping on the "287(g) bandwagon" that is popular with voters these days.

LAW ENFORCEMENT REFERENCES: The Prince William county staff compiled a lot of info for their supervisors. This link,, is for their website, where you will find a list of references.
Excellent references include:
(1) IACP Report, "Police Chief's Guide to Immigration Issues" and (2) "Major Cities Chiefs Immigration Committee Recommendations"

WHY BAISE IS BAD FOR FAIRFAX: Unfortunately, candidate Baise is part of the "wise use" (rape the land and call it good) establishment that enables corporate polluters, builds roads for loggers in our shrinking forests, advocates for endlessly expanding extractive industries such as mining and drilling, and prefers paving wetlands to protecting them for wildlife, recreation and intrinsic environmental value. Mr. Baise also strongly supports Bush Administration efforts to weaken the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts

Many feel strongly about various issues in this election, but the environment that we all depend upon should take precedence over relatively narrow short-term issues. Our living space on earth is a complex web of life and resources to nurture, not to exploit beyond reason. Electing Baise as Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chairman would bring green-scam wise use policies to Fairfax that will degrade our lives even more than other issues.

CONNOLLY is GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. As Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Connolly has sponsored a 20-year environmental vision plan, recently initiated the national "Cool Counties" program and has consistently supported environmental improvement and protection of our natural resources. Connolly is obviously the best choice. In addition to being generally unqualified for this job, Gary Baise specializes in green MONEY, but not a green EARTH!

Posted by: AnnDe | November 2, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Connolly's good for the environment? Connolly's good for Connolly. SAIC, metro rail, hit and run, now on Metro Board? Give me a break.

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