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Posted at 2:38 PM ET, 02/17/2011

Virginia Latino groups challenge Manassas delegate's claims

By Fredrick Kunkle

The Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO) slammed Del. Jackson H. Miller (R-Manassas) on Thursday for making fiery claims about illegal immigrants and the law that VACOLAO says don't gibe with the facts.

A day after a Senate subcommittee filled with Democrats shot down a number of Republican bills to crack down on illegal immigration, VACOLAO challenged Miller's claim that certain crimes, such as last week's triple killing in Manassas, might not have occurred if his bill were law.

His bill would have required the Virginia State Police superintendent to join the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in enforcing federal immigration law through the so-called 287g program. In an impassioned floor speech on Feb. 14, Miller also said his bill might have spared the life of a nun who was killed by a drunk driver who authorities say was also in the country illegally. The bill passed the GOP-led House of Delegates but died in a Senate subcommittee controlled by Democrats.

Claire Gastanaga, a VACOLAO lobbyist, suggested the Miller's bill would have done nothing that state and local officials can already do.

Gastanaga also said in an email that Prince William County law enforcement has had a 287g agreement in place since 2008 and that federal government's own policies permitted the two-time drunk driver to remain free while awaiting deportation proceedings.

Gastanaga also noted that only the governor of a state of a state can sign off on an agreement with ICE, not the state police superintendent. She also said Gov. Robert F. McDonnell applied last year to the Department of Homeland Security to enlist in the 287g program.


But late Thursday, Miller said his bill would have codified what McDonnell has already asked for, thereby ensuring that the next governor could not withdraw from the program without the assent of the General Assembly.

Miller also dismissed the criticism from Gastanaga and VACOLAO and characterized them as extreme in their support of allowing illegal aliens to remain in the United States once they have crossed its borders.

"Their goal is to keep state and local governments from doing anything," Miller said by telephone. "They are against programs that even the federal government has to protect public safety."

With passions escalating on both sides of the issue, Miller also rejected criticism from VACALAO and its supporters that the GOP's package of bills aimed at illegal immigration could foster intolerance for Latinos and other immigrants.

"They've convinced themselves in their own minds that anyone who wants immigration reform hates Latinos. That's how they prop themselves up. That's how they get community support, by playing the race card," Miller said.




A day after a Senate subcommittee filled with Democrats shot down a number of Republican bills to crack down on illegal immigration, VACOLAO challenged Miller's claim that certain crimes, such as last week's triple killing in Manassas, might not have occurred if his bill were law.

His bill would have required the Virginia State Police superintendent to join the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in enforcing federal immigration law through the so-called 287g program. In an impassioned floor speech on Feb. 14, Miller also said his bill might have spared the life of a nun who was killed by a drunk driver who authorities also say was in the country illegally. The bill passed the GOP-led House of Delegates but died in a Senate subcommittee controlled by Democrats.

Claire Gastanaga, a VACOLAO lobbyist, suggested the Miller's bill would have done nothing that state and local officials can already do.

Gastanaga also said in an email that Prince William County law enforcement has had a 287g agreement in place since 2008 and that federal government's own policies permitted the two-time drunk driver to remain free while awaiting deportation proceedings.

Gastanaga also noted that only the governor of a state of a state can sign off on an agreement with ICE, not the state police superintendent. She also said Gov. Robert F. McDonnell applied last year to the Department of Homeland Security to enlist in the 287g program.


But Miller late Thursday Miller said his bill would have codified what McDonnell has already asked for, thereby ensuring that the next governor could not withdraw from the program without the assent of the General Assembly.

Miller also dismissed the criticism from Gastanaga and VACOLAO and characterized them as extreme in their support of allowing illegal aliens to remain in the United States once they have crossed its borders.

"Their goal is to keep state and local governments from doing anything," Miller said by telephone. "They are against programs that even the federal government has to protect public safety...She'd probably be opposed to this guy being deported after his first DUI."

With passions escalating on both sides of the issue, Miller also rejected criticism from VACALAO and its supporters that the GOP's package of bills aimed at illegal immigration could foster intolerance for Latinos and other immigrants.

"They've convinced themselves in their own minds that anyone who wants immigration reform hates Latinos. That's how they prop themselves up. That's how they get community support, by playing the race card," Miller said.



By Fredrick Kunkle  | February 17, 2011; 2:38 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly 2011, Immigration, Prince William  
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Comments

Ms.Gastanaga,

She is your typical lawyer/consultant who feeds off the backs of the illegal immigrant community. Her practice relies on those who are here unlawfully for business.

LOBBYIST:
Claire Guthrie Gastanaga

Claire Guthrie Gastanaga is also a Donor

Claire Guthrie Gastanaga is also a Vendor


Period:

Claire Guthrie Gastanaga registered to lobby on behalf of the following clients:

* Equality Virginia
* Va Coalition of Latino Organizations
* Va Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance


Claire Guthrie Gastanaga registered to lobby for the following firms:

* CG2 Consulting

Posted by: miroffsupportsillegalaliens | February 18, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

If Latinos who are LEGALLY present in this country really wanted to do something for themselves individually, their country, and their race, they would join in the hue and cry against the open borders crowd. Unfortunately, too many are seduced by the propaganda spewed by Gastagnaga and her ilk. They are convinced by this propaganda that somehow they will be victims of oppression if some common sense measures are passed making this country less attractive to illegal aliens. Our boats would all float higher if the borders were secured, visas violaters were deported, and employers were sanctioned for hiring illegal aliens. But that would put Claire and her crowd out in the street.

Posted by: Advocator | February 18, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I find it interesting that those who disagree with what I said (on my own behalf not as a spokesperson for VACOLAO contrary to the way it is presented in this blog post) choose to attack me personally rather than debate the issues raised. Virginia has done more than almost any other state to address issues related to illegal immigration. We have more than 40 laws already on the books that deal with immigration issues, including laws passed in 2008 making Virginia one of two states with mandatory check on arrest, the only state to my knowledge with a presumption against bail for persons here without authority who are charged with breaking state or local laws, and a state that requires all state and local contracts to require compliance with immigration laws with the penalty for violation being loss of the right to do business in VA. Almost all of the bills proposed this year, including Delegate Miller's 287g bill, didn't do anything that isn't already being done. The Governor has asked for 287g authority for the State Police. His request hasn't been acted upon by Homeland Security. The legislature is prohibited by the constitution from telling the Governor what to do (separation of powers) and the federal 287g law requires the Governor's signature on the agreement (not the State Police superintendent's). So, if it passed, Delegate Miller's bill would not have kept the Governor from withdrawing from the 287g program without the legislature's consent, as he asserts. It would simply have had no effect. No one, including the individuals or organizations in VACOLAO, supports drunk driving or wants criminals committing crimes in their neighborhoods (especially since Latinos/Hispanics are disproportionately the victims). What those of us who opposed much of the legislation offered this year want, though, is real problem solving that brings people together to talk about how we can make our neighborhoods and streets safer rather than message bills and speeches on the floor of the House of Delegates that don't do anything but drive a wedge between people and communities. For example, what would have had an effect in keeping us safer is if the drunk driver who killed the nun had served all of the 363 days in his sentence for drunk driving instead of the 20 he was allowed to serve, and if the Prince William Sheriff's Department, the Regional Jail or the Prince William Police Department had put a detainer on him (they all have the power to do so under their 287g agreements) and pressed ICE to take him into its custody and remove him from the country at the end of his jail term. Bottom line, we all want the same thing, including secure borders and safe communities. We just disagree about how to get there.

Posted by: cg2consulting | February 18, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Without question, illegal aliens are responsible for a disproportionate level of crime and violence.

Without question, EVERY victim of an illegal -- whether the weapon is a vehicle (as illegals seem to prefer driving drunk to being sober), a gun, a machete -- would have been spared had the illegal not been in this country.

Enough of the pro-alien groups, and the racist organizations that promote Hispanics above everyone. Most of the people served by these organizations are invaders and have no right to be in the United States. They assuredly are not welcome.

We are not racist for wanting to protect American citizens against the willful harm of illegal aliens.

You can be sure, however, that illegal aliens and their promoters ARE racist, and are fully determined that U.S. laws do not apply to them.

Posted by: wmpowellfan | February 19, 2011 3:40 AM | Report abuse

Let us all strive to fire VA's anti American pro illegal alien Senate Democrats next election.

Posted by: Patriot12 | February 19, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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