Governor McAuliffe’s veto yesterday of my HB1468, which required Virginia jails to turn over convicted criminals subject to deportation to Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), is an injustice to all Virginia victims of crimes committed by these individuals and makes everyone in Virginia less safe.
On the very day of the Govenor’s veto, Fairfax County police announced that two bodies were discovered in a park near Baileys Crossroads, which the Fairfax Police believe are the result of gang related murders, most likely MS-13.
I hoped the Governor might sign my bill because of assurances he received at a meeting with Homeland Security Secretary Kelly on February 26, 2017. Governor McAuliffe said Secretary Kelly told him that only “those that are here illegally and have been involved in a criminal enterprise” will be deported by ICE. So why did the Governor veto HB 1468?
Apparently, the Governor prefers to keep dangerous criminals on Virginia’s streets rather than deport them. Failure to turn over dangerous individuals wanted by ICE has resulted in murder, death by DUI, and other crimes in the first two months of 2017. So-called “sanctuary” policies endanger lives. The “sanctuary” policy caused the death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco, as well as a murder and homicide in Denver, Colorado this year and other serious crimes across America.
The Trump Administration is largely following the Obama Administration’s deportation program of “Secure Communities.” If Governor McAuliffe objected to President Obama’s deportations, he was very quiet about it. The Obama Administration prioritized deportation of convicted criminals, those who posed a danger to national security, including gang members. This has not changed under President Trump. Why the veto?
Is the Governor OK with releasing criminals before they serve their sentence so they can elude ICE? He also must disagree with holding criminals the additional 48 hours allowed by federal law, for ICE to pick up a dangerous criminal for deportation. Instead, these criminals will be released back into our communities to risk more lives. Liberal Democrat Party politics is not more important than public safety.
On April 5 the General Assembly will vote to override or support Governor McAuliffe’s veto of my HB 1468. That vote will show the public which elected officials want to protect the public, (including those who are here illegally and who are often victims of gang violence), and which ones are okay with releasing illegal immigrants convicted of other crimes back into our communities rather than to deport them.
-Submitted by Delegate Bob Marshall