Polarizing legislation passed in Prince William County in 2007 to crack down on illegal immigration might soon reach throughout the state of Virginia.
Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William) recently introduced legislation to the House of Delegates to toughen an existing state law that requires sheriffs to inquire as to a person's legal status when he or she is taken into custody at a jail. The new law, modeled on Prince William's, would require inquiries to be made of every person arrested. If a warrantless arrest is made but the officer suspects the person is in the U.S. illegally, a judicial officer could decide to deny the person bail.
Prince William Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart (R-At Large) cheered Lingamfelter's move, saying on Thursday that "the strength of this policy is that it mandates the status check and establishes a bright line for Virginia law enforcement, avoiding racial-profiling accusations." Stewart has hinted at a possible run for the U.S. Senate in 2012.
The bill has been referred to the delegates' Committee for Courts of Justice.