Virginia AG Rules Police Can Check Immigration Status
This should bolster the hopes of state lawmakers who want to pass Arizona-style immigration legislation: The Virgina Attorney General ruled police can check immigration status of anyone stopped or arrested in the state.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli wrote the opinion at the request of State Delegate Bob Marshall, a Republican who hopes to enact stricter anti-illegal immigration measures. This wasn’t Cuccinelli’s first act in support of Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law — he also filed a “friend of the court” brief supporting Arizona in its legal challenge.
According to his July 30 official legal opinion:
State and local officers are not required to stand idly by and allow such criminals to proceed with impunity. The same holds true with criminal violations of the immigration laws. [...]
Virginia law enforcement officers have the authority to make the same inquiries as those contemplated by the new Arizona law. So long as the officers have the requisite level of suspicion to believe that a violation of the law has occurred, the officers may detain and briefly question a person they suspect has committed a federal crime.
The ruling does not authorize officers to make arrests for civil violations of immigration laws, unless they have been given authorization from federal authorities. The ruling will be considered law unless it loses a challenge in court.