Just when it looked like the hubbub was dying down over Arlington’s failed effort to withdraw from the Secure Communities immigration enforcement program, the Virginia state legislature now appears poised to stir up the immigration hornet’s nest once again.
According to the Washington Examiner, Del. Dave Albo (R-Fairfax) has indicated that he will be introducing bills that will deny driver’s licenses and government benefits for illegal immigrants, while permitting police to check the immigration status of anyone who is taken into custody.
That last proposal is intended to mimic the controversial Arizona immigration law that quickly turned into a hot-button national news story. It would fly in the face of Arlington’s stated policy that “it is not the role of Arlington County law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws.”
“I hope the General Assembly will examine these measures very carefully,” said Del. Bob Brink (D), who represents part of Arlington. “I’m concerned that, in addition to their potential for stigmatizing some Virginians, they could actually make the work of law enforcement more difficult.”
Brink added that he wants to talk with Arlington’s public safety officials “to get their reaction to the proposed bills.”
Albo, meanwhile, told the Examiner that he doesn’t think his immigration bills stand much of a chance of passing the Democratic-controlled state senate, although he predicted the bills would likely pass the Republican-controlled House of Delegates.
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Governor Robert McDonnell has appointed two Arlington lawmakers to his government reform panel.
State Delegate Bob Brink and state Senator Mary Margaret Whipple, both Democrats, will join 29 other appointees on the Governor’s Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring.
“The Commission members will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the state’s agencies, programs, and services to find out how we can make our state government work better for its owners, the people of Virginia,” Gov. McDonnell said while announcing his selections for the panel. “I look forward to working with these reform-minded leaders to examine how Virginia can better serve the taxpayers.”
In addition to Del. Brink and Sen. Whipple, several top government reform thinkers who live or work in Arlington were appointed to the commission.
One appointee, Bill Eggers, is a government reform expert, a global director for Deloitte Research and the brother of author Dave Eggers.
Maurice P. McTigue, a distinguished visiting scholar at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, and Geoffrey Segal, director of privatization and government reform at the Reason Foundation, were also named to the governor’s commission.
Commission members will hold their first meeting next month.
Arlington’s Del. Bob Brink (D) is hailing the passage of a bill that would create a pro-choice “Trust Women / Respect Choice” license plate option for Virginia drivers. The bill passed the Virginia House and the Senate over the weekend by votes of 64-30 and 22-15 respectively.
Brink, who introduced the original House version of the bill, called the vote “a victory both for reproductive rights and First Amendment principles.”
Brink says the bill will allow the state to “give equal treatment to the pro-choice position,” given last year’s creation of a “Choose Life” license plate.
The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who has said he doesn’t support Planned Parenthood, the organization that would receive revenue from the sale of the plates.
Almost missed this one. While we were in the midst of yesterday’s blizzard, the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that would ban the forced implantation of microchips in people.
RFID chips are already being implanted in humans voluntarily for use as portable health records. Some groups have objected to the use of implantable microchips due to privacy concerns. But some fundamentalist Christians — and at least two Virginia lawmakers – believe that the microchips may be used as the antichrist’s “mark of the beast,” from the Book of Revelations.
The House bill will ban companies from requiring their customers or employees to implant the chips. So far, there have been no reported cases of a forced microchip implantation, leading some to question the necessity of the bill.
Del. Robert H. Brink (D-Arlington) said on the House floor that he did not find many voters demanding microchip legislation when he was campaigning last fall: “I didn’t hear anything about the danger of asteroids striking the Earth, about the threat posed by giant alligators in our cities’ sewer systems or about the menace of forced implantation of microchips in human beings.”