The General Assembly is on the warpath. Fight back!

The following are a list of key immigration bills that we need to keep an eye on very carefully until the very end of session.  We are hopeful that we can have them killed in committee but it will take ALL of us to make that happen.

We will add to this list as needed under our Bills tab at the top of the page.  Please feel free to bookmark the Bills page in your web browser so that you can visit it often for updates.  You can click on the link that corresponds with each bill to check its status in session.

PLEASE NOTE: There are a number of voter suppression bills that overlap into immigration that we will share in a separate post.

Anti-immigrant bills we are AGAINST/OPPOSING this session:

House Bills

House Courts of Justice Committee

HB 1001 Immigration laws; agreement with United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Ramadan (R-South Riding). Enforcement of immigration laws; agreement with United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Provides that the Superintendent of State Police shall seek to enter into a memorandum of agreement with United States Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as authorized under 8 U.S.C. § 1357(g), to permit the State Police to perform federal immigration law-enforcement functions in the Commonwealth after arrest of an alien.

HB 1060 Citizenship of arrestee; if accused is not committed to jail, arresting officer to ascertain. Anderson (R-Woodbridge). Arresting officer to ascertain citizenship of arrestee.  Supplements the existing law that requires sheriffs to make a query into legal presence when a person is “taken into custody” at a jail. This bill expands such inquiries by requiring inquiries of everyone arrested, independent of whether they were taken into custody at a jail, and requires that an arresting officer inquire of every arrestee whether he (i) was born in a country other than the United States and (ii) is a citizen of a country other than the United States. The bill further provides that when a warrantless arrest is made and the law-enforcement officer finds probable cause to believe that the person is not legally present in the United States, he shall communicate to the judicial officer the facts and circumstances underlying his belief. If the judicial officer concurs in the determination of the officer and finds probable cause to believe that the person will not appear for trial or hearing, the judicial officer may refuse to admit the person to bail.

House Courts of Justice Sub-Committee: #3 Immigration

HB 89 Citizenship of arrestee; if accused is not committed to jail, arresting officer to ascertain. Del Albo (R-Springfield) Supplements the existing law that requires sheriffs to make a query into legal presence when a person is “taken into custody” at a jail. This bill expands such inquiries by requiring inquiries of everyone arrested, and requires that an arresting officer inquire of every arrestee whether he (i) was born in a country other than the United States and (ii) is a citizen of a country other than the United States.

HB 108 Federal immigration law; enforcement by State and its political subdivisions. Del Albo (R-Springfield). Enforcement of federal immigration law by the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions. Provides that no agency of the Commonwealth, political subdivision of the Commonwealth or locality, or an employee of any of them acting in his official capacity, may limit or restrict the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law.

HB 320 Citizenship of arrestee; if accused is not committed to jail, arresting officer to ascertain. Del Ingram (R-Hopewell) Arresting officer to ascertain citizenship of arrestee. Supplements the existing law that requires sheriffs to make a query into legal presence when a person is “taken into custody” at a jail. This bill expands such inquiries by requiring inquiries of everyone arrested, and requires that an arresting officer inquire of every arrestee whether he (i) was born in a country other than the United States and (ii) is a citizen of a country other than the United States.

HB 472 Immigration query at arrest; law-enforcement officer to determine status after lawful traffic stop. Del Albo (R-Springfield) Immigration query at arrest or during detention.  Provides that when a law-enforcement officer lawfully detains a person who cannot produce a driver’s license or properly identify himself following a lawful traffic stop, the officer is authorized, during the detention, to make certain prescribed inquiries of the detainee and of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If the officer forms a reasonable suspicion, on the basis of such inquiries, that the person is unlawfully present in the United States and determines that the person has also been previously deported, the officer may arrest the person or, if he has not been previously deported, detain the person for transfer of custody to the federal government.

HB 779 In-state tuition; undocumented persons eligibility. Del Lopez (D-Arlington). In-state tuition; undocumented persons. Establishes that an undocumented person who is unlawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible for in-state tuition unless he meets all of the following criteria: (i) he has resided with his parent, guardian, or other person standing in loco parentis while attending a public or private high school in this state; (ii) he has graduated from a public or private high school in Virginia or has received a General Education Development (GED) certificate in Virginia; (iii) he has resided in the Commonwealth for at least three years since the date he graduated from high school, or for one year if a veteran or an active duty member of the United States armed forces; (iv) he has registered as an entering student in an institution of higher education; (v) he has provided an affidavit to the institution stating that he has filed an application to become a permanent resident of the United States and is actively pursuing such permanent residency or will do so as soon as he is eligible; and (vi) he has submitted evidence that he or, in the case of a dependent student, at least one parent, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis, has filed, unless exempted by state law, Virginia income tax returns for at least three years prior to the date of enrollment.

House Courts of Justice Committee Sub-Committee #1: Criminal

HB 173 Interpreter appointed for non-English-speaking defendant; cost shall be borne by defendant. Del. Loupassi (R- Richmond). Interpreter appointed for non-English-speaking defendant. Provides that the cost for an interpreter for a non-English-speaking defendant shall be borne by the defendant if he is convicted of the criminal offense.

HB 958 Citizenship of arrestee; if accused is not committed to jail, arresting officer to ascertain. Bell (R-Charlottesville). Arresting officer to ascertain citizenship of arrestee.  Supplements the existing law that requires sheriffs to make a query into legal presence when a person is “taken into custody” at a jail. This bill expands such inquiries by requiring inquiries of everyone arrested, and requires that an arresting officer inquire of every arrestee whether he (i) was born in a country other than the United States and (ii) is a citizen of a country other than the United States.

House Committee on Transportation

HB 560 Driver’s licenses; prohibits issuance to certain persons. Del Marshall (R- Danville). Driver’s licenses.  Prohibits issuance of driver’s licenses to any person less than 21 years old unless he is either a high school graduate or has earned a GED.

 House Committee on Commerce and Labor

HB 1077 Day labor centers; use of E-Verify program. Hugo (R-Centreville). Day labor centers; use of E-Verify program.  Requires day labor centers to be enrolled in the E-Verify program by December 1, 2012, and to use the E-Verify program for each day laborer referred by the day labor center to a third-party employer for day labor employment on and after December 1, 2012.

Senate Bills

Senate Committee for Courts of Justice

SB 460 Immigration query at arrest; law-enforcement officer to determine status after lawful traffic stop. Black (R-Leesburg). Immigration query at arrest or during detention.  Provides that when a law-enforcement officer lawfully detains a person following a lawful stop, detention, or arrest of such person for a suspected criminal offense or traffic infraction or upon reasonable suspicion of criminal activity and, during the detention, based upon certain prescribed inquiries of the detainee and ICE, the officer forms a reasonable suspicion that the person is unlawfully present in the United States, the officer shall make a reasonable effort during the detention, when practicable, to determine whether the person is lawfully present, unless the determination would hinder or obstruct an investigation. The bill also sets out procedures to be followed by a judicial officer who would make a bail determination for such an arrestee.

Posted in Immigration | Leave a comment

Are you ready for the pushback?

We warned you that there would be some difficult legislation facing us this General Assembly session and we wish our predictions had been wrong.

We will be updating the blog and the Facebook page on a regular basis now–as often as we have something to report.  We’ve heard word from some of our community allies that there will be a BIG call to action coming out soon and we will need all of you to help us.

Please check the blog and the Facebook page often and please take action as often as you can by emailing or calling your legislator (and even those that aren’t in your district).   Please share this information with everyone you know too.

We’ve got to flood the General Assembly with calls and even our footsteps this session!

We have everything to lose…if it’s up to many of those occupying offices in the Capitol building, we will lose it all.  We have what they don’t–the numbers backing us–it’s time to show them again what we can do!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2012 is gonna be tough- Get Involved Now!

Virginia United Against Oppression is getting geared up for a tough legislative session in 2012.

The General Assembly has certainly shifted somewhat in the past election. Many of the same bills we fought so hard last year will be dredged up again, only this time the balance in the state senate leans towards an aggressive right-wing agenda targeting workers, immigrants, and their families.

We relish the fight and will continue with our work of direct lobbying, and alternative forms of lobbying to include many communities that often  get left out of the political process.

Things we are keeping an eye on:

-“Virginia Rule of Law” bills that seek to check on immigration status in all forms of state government and services. Last year we killed the bulk of these racist bills, but make no mistake they will all be presented yet again.

-“Right to Work” being added to the state constitution, expect another attempt to further enshrine these already existing laws into the state constitution.

-Expect further attempts to limit workers abilities to recieve workers comp in a number of ways.

-Something new this year will likely be vicious social service and welfare gutting measures, such as requiring drug testing for people to qualify for food stamps and to use social services. We vow to include opposing this impending vicious anti-human legislation.

So GET INVOLVED NOW and help us craft a strategy and work on outreach so we will all be prepared for an aggressive General Assembly Session in 2012!

contact us at:
spvirginia@comcast.net

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Know Your Rights!

Immigration and Know Your Rights Discussion with Tim Frielich of the Charlottesville Legal Aid Center and The Southwood Alliance

Wednesday, Feb. 23
4:30 pm
Random Row Bookstore
315 W. Main St.
Charlottesville, Va.

Join the Southwood Alliance for a discussion about legal issues facing the immigrant community. Discussion will include updates on the recently defeated, and passed legislation in the Virginia General Assembly.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Anti-Immigrant Bills Stopped in the Committee (for now?)

We are very excited to report that today’s meeting of the Senate Sub-Committee on Immigration went extremely well for everyone concerned about human rights in Virginia.

10 of the bills considered were tabled and/or not reported to the Senate floor- aka- killed in committee!!!

Many thanks to everyone who has participated so far in the effort to stop racist and hateful legislation in our state, it really has made a difference in the process and in the lives of many of our fellow humans living in Virginia.

(the two bills that were “reported out” were HB 1651- which has the DMV revoking licenses when the federal government alerts them, which seldom happens, and HB 1859 which is identical to something already passed by the senate and now in the house SB 1049- which gives preference to contractors who use e-verify)

Our work is not done!
We have already seen a few legislative tricks this session, and judging by last year, some members of the General Assembly are not afraid to avoid normal procedure and to push things forward despite what committees or assembly rules may order. The chance of some of these bills being somehow revived still lingers and we promise to be extra vigilant in making sure that doesn’t happen.

There are 9 days left in the 2011 session of the General Assembly.
Two bills remain-  SB 1049 now in the House, and HB 1651 now in the Senate.
While these bills are very limited in the amount of harm they can cause, we still need to work to get the House and Senate to vote against them. This is no easy task, but well worth the effort.
You can contact your Delegate and Senator through the General Assembly website and ask her/him to vote against SB 1049 and HB 1651 respectively.

Here are some stories about what happened Tuesday- please feel free to engage in the comments sections of the RTD article as the many supporters of these reactionary laws tend to be very vocal on-line and we could use a hand countering their nonsense.

http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2011/feb/16/senate-panel-scraps-illegal-immigration-bills-ar-848613/
http://www.pitchengine.com/pitch/125878/

We have been working hard to bring people into this effort who aren’t otherwise involved, along with VACALAO and Virginia Organizing. Hopefully some of you will continue to be involved in immigrant rights issues after the session is complete, there are many opportunities to do so. Please stay up to speed at Virginia United Against Oppression or give us a call. We’ll be making sure to keep you updated!

With much thanks and respect,
Brandon Collins
(434) 249-3312

Breanne Armbrust
(804) 306-3121

Virginia United Against Oppression

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Call and Write Now- Stop the Bills in Committee

CALL YOUR STATE SENATOR!!!

Twelve bills from the House of Delegates have made it into the State Senate, there is a good chance we can stop all of these bills in committee if we put enough pressure on Senators.

PLEASE CALL YOUR STATE SENATOR AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, the committee will be meeting this week, they need to hear from you! Also feel free to contact members of the senate subcommittee on immigration and let them know what you think (even if they aren’t your senator):

Senator John Edwards (804) 698-7521
Senator Dick Saslaw (804) 698-7535
Senator Louise Lucas (804) 698-7518
Senator Fred Quayle (804) 698-7513

Here is a list of phone numbers for all of the state senators, if you don’t know who your state senator is please follow this link, and feel free to sign on to this e-mail petition concerning HB 1465 and HB 2332.

Here’s some things to consider when calling-

-All people living and working in Virginia should be treated fairly and deserve respect for their human rights. This legislation is motivated by racism and fear of latino people in our communities.

-Turning Virginia police into ICE agents means more immigrants awaiting deportation being imprisoned for long periods of time, prisons are already overburdened and immigration offenses are not felonies, we should not treat them as such by keeping people in jails for as long as a year.

-This imprisonment creates a huge tax burden on Virginia taxpayers, and will likely lead to more prisons being built with more tax money under private contract- that means prison profiteers will benefit greatly from an increased immigrant detainee population.

-Virginia’s undocumented population will not cooperate with police in investigations or report crime if they know their resident status will be scrutinized and they could possibly be imprisoned for months and deported.

-Turning Virginia police into ICE officers will place a greater financial burden on the state.

-Virginia police should not be enforcing federal immigration policy

-Virginia’s localities should always know what is happening in their communities, requiring them to not be informed opens the door for abuse and keeps localities from protecting their citizens and residents whether documented or not.

-All of our state benefits when those in need are provided services and assistance, denying public service to undocumented people creates more poverty, more crime, and more suffering.

-Requiring public servants to check resident status before providing service turns all public servants in ICE agents- should all of Virginia’s state and local public servants, including teachers, be enforcing federal immigration policy? We think not. This will cause loss of employment for many public servants who have a moral conscience.

-All people in Virginia should have access to higher education, including the undocumented. This makes our world safer and more prosperous, and creates more responsible future citizens and legal residents. In the future we may see college as pathway for legal status in the United States, let’s not interfere with that process.

-Having licensed drivers makes the commonwealth a safer place to live, making it harder for immigrants to get a driver’s license means more people driving illegally.

-If a person is here illegally, and knows their status will be checked upon being stopped by police, they will likely hesitate or not participate with police. Under this legislation failure to give one’s name results in a misdemeanor and therefore a check of ones legal status. Why would anyone cooperate with police in those circumstances?

-All of Virginia deserves access to employment, a working population does not suffer as much, commit as much crime, or require as much burden on the state. There could be enough work for everyone, denying immigrants resources for job search is the same as denying all workers access to jobs.

-Federal trade policy is the main driver of latin american migration to the US, if we truly want to do something about immigration, change trade policy so that people have a better life in their countries of origin instead of holding people in jail cells in Virginia.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Charlottesville Passes Resolution Opposing Racist Bills

On Monday night, as things got uglier and uglier in Richmond, Charlottesville City Council became the first Virginia locality to express it’s opposition to the anti-immigrant legislation making it’s way past the House of Delegates and into the State Senate.

The resolution is similar to the sample we have here on our website, below is the press release, and more attention to this issue should be forthcoming.

Charlottesville City Council Passes Unanimous Resolution Opposing Long List of Anti-Immigrant Bills in the General Assembly.

Charlottesville’s regular first Monday City Council meeting saw dozens of people showing up to make sure that a resolution pertaining to statewide immigration legislation would pass.

In the unanimous vote council expressed it’s “strong opposition” to a long list of bills directed towards undocumented people, and stating that “Charlottesville recognizes that all people living or working in Virginia are entitled to respect and inalienable human rights regardless of residency status”
Some of the bills being opposed would deny public services, higher education, use of the Virginia Employment Commission, and drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants. Other bills allow Virginia police to act as federal immigration officials, sets up a system through the Department of Homeland Security to check residency status, allows police to stop anyone suspected of being here illegally, removes local oversight of federal immigration investigations, puts Virginia in charge of detaining and paying for immigrants awaiting deportation, and mandates all parents to verify residency when enrolling children in public schools.

Opponents of the legislation, who now include Charlottesville City Council, say the legislation is a full on assault on immigrants in their community. They say that denial of public services and education contributes to a less safe and prosperous community, erodes civil liberties, and will cause chaos in the immigrant community. They further note that many of the bills require the Commonwealth and it’s localities to pay for doing the job of the Federal Government.

In attendance at the Monday night meeting were many members of the “Southwood Alliance” of immigrants in Charlottesville. One of whom spoke, through an interpreter, about how the proposed legislation would “cause chaos” her community. Many others in attendance also spoke in favor of the resolution, and no one expressed any opposition. When asked to stand in support of the resolution the entire room of attendees to the meeting stood up, with only two or three people remaining seated.

One speaker asked the council actively “engage the public” on this issue, another pointed out that the legislation “legitimizes discrimination”. Mayor Norris responded to Maria Jiminez’s comments that the legislation is an assault on her community and is also an assault on the entire community. The resolution itself points out that immigrants awaiting deportation are often held in detention for 8 months or more.

To hear the resolution being out loud in full visit (at minute 53:00) http://charlottesville.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=612

For more information on the growing opposition to anti-immigrant legislation in the General Assembly please visit Virginia United Against Oppression

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments