A new Quinnipiac poll showed that Virginia residents are in favor on enacting immigration laws that give police the authority to check the legal status of people who are stopped or arrested.
Two- thirds of respondents said they were in favor of status checks while only 34 percent opposed tough immigration laws.
But Virginia has had a status check law on the books for 2008. At that time Virginia mandated status checks for people who are arrested, and in other circumstances, such as admission to a state hospital, to obtain a driver’s license, when applying for Medicaid benefits and even when seeking employment.
Gov. Bob MacDonnell said, “We were pushing the envelope before anyone else was. I don’t know that we have to do anything else really.”
According to Gov. MacDonnell the enforcement problem is on the federal end. He says the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t inform Virginia law enforcement when a case they referred results in deportation proceedings.
Any immigrant, who has found themselves in deportation proceedings, still have the opportunity to stay in the U.S. when they employ an immigration attorney to develop an effective defense.
Civil rights groups are quick to challenge status checks because they believe it creates a climate of racial profiling. But people in favor see them as one aspect of immigration enforcement.
Too often, people chose to bypass the legal route to a lawful presence even though an immigration attorney can make the process easier. These immigrants must live in the shadows and fear of deportation.
There are a number of avenues an immigration lawyer will explore when trying to get legal documents for their clients. Many people are eligible for temporary work visas, asylum or green cards but they a legal expert to find a pathway to citizenship.