Virginia Republicans campaigning to keep control of the General Assembly this year are vowing to crack down on illegal immigration. Out of the five states with state elections this November, illegal immigration is hottest as a campaign theme in Virginia, according to several political observers.
But the immigration question is also being raised on the campaign trail by candidates in the races for Kentucky and Louisiana governor and the Mississippi lieutenant governor's contest. Candidates are capitalizing on voter anger over illegal immigration, especially after Congress failed this summer, for the second year in a row, to pass major immigration reforms.
"There's a general frustration on people's part regarding the federal government, that it's not doing what needs to be done on illegal immigration. Illegal immigration is growing, it's costing taxpayers money, it's overcrowding schools," said Susan Stimpson, campaign manager for Richard Stuart, a GOP candidate for Virginia Senate.
Stuart, who is running for the seat of a retiring 29-year veteran of the state Legislature, is promoting measures to let local sheriffs enforce immigration laws by cooperating with federal authorities. His campaign Web site promises he "will not support the use of a single taxpayer dollar being spent on services for those here illegally, including in-state college tuition."
Republican leaders of the Virginia House and Senate unveiled a legislative package in August that would prohibit illegal immigrants from attending Virginia colleges and universities and require local sheriffs to work closely with federal authorities to keep illegal immigrants suspected of crimes in jail.
Other GOP candidates are calling for cutting off a wide range of state benefits now being collected by some illegal immigrants, including workers compensation.
Read the full story State-level Republican Candidates Stress Immigration on the Stateline.org Web site.