The Virginia General Assembly is going to be considering many bills this session in a full on attack on undocumented people in our state. One of these bills is very similar to the racist legislation that came out in Arizona last year. Combined with the other bills aimed at immigrants and workers you can see that we have our work cut out for us.
A new group has formed: Virginia United Against Oppression- to keep these bills from being passed. From what we can tell, given the lack of public opposition the General Assembly will try to get these through committee as fast as possible, and passed before anyone has a chance to organize. That means it is extremely important that we work hard and fast starting right now. This racist legislation will likely pass the house, but has a chance of being killed in the state senate if we work hard!
We hope you will consider getting involved as soon as possible! There are plenty of ways to get started right now.
First- send an e-mail or letter (or both!) to your Delegate and State Senator.
You can find out who your state legislators are by following this link-
Take a look at the bills below and tell them you don’t want these laws!
Make sure you get everyone you know to do the same.
(we’ll make it easier soon, but go ahead an get the ball rolling!)
Next- drop us a line using one of the e-mail addresses or phone numbers listed below and let us know where you live, how you might be able to help! We’ve got ideas and we want to hear yours!
Breanne Armbrust- Richmond, Tidewater, Northern Virginia
Brandon Collins- Charlottesville, Staunton, Harrisonburg, Southwest Virginia
For spanish speakers:
Then- make a contact list, it might have two columns: one for people who will take some action on this legislation, the other for people who have time and energy to organize further. Then start contacting them! We will be happy to send you a template you can use for contacting people, press releases, talking points, organizing check list etc. Feel free to copy and paste anything from this site to share with everybody.
Point as many people as possible to our wordpress site https://virginiaunitedagainstoppression.wordpress.com/
stay tuned for updates and more action that can be taken!
Here is a list of the anti-immigrant bills and a brief description about them.
Remember, this is not just the “big” bill that turns police into ICE agents, it is a wholesale assault on immigrant people in Virginia- the other bills are just as important!
SB 789 (Sen. Watkins) E-Verify program; requires Virginia Employment Commission to use. (Will impact referrals from VEC as well as defining E-Verify)
HB 1468 (Del Albo) Citizenship or legal presence required for public assistance; verification required.
HB 1420 (Del Albo) Immigration laws; State Police to enter into agreement with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement. (State police can act as ICE agents)
HB 1421 (Del Albo) Immigration laws, federal; enforcement by State, political subdivisions, or localities. (Requires localities to follow Federal ICE rules and not interfere)
HB 1482 (Del Cleaveland) Driver’s license; use of birth registration cards to obtain. (Proof of legal presence is mentioned in this bill)
HB 1574 (Del Garrett) Mandatory self-identification; failure to identify oneself to law-enforcement officer. (This requires if asked, a person must identify themselves if the officer asks in the cases that the officer believes that have committed, are committing, or about to commit a crime. Automatically makes them guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor)
HB 1465 (Del Peace) Higher educational institutions; admission of illegal aliens. (Requires legal presence for admission)
Many of the sponsors and supporters of these bills are also interested in changing the 14th Amendment to the US constitution to eliminate birthright citizenship in the US.
Why we oppose this assault on undocumented humans in Virginia:
-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.
Here are the bills related to workers rights (more info coming soon)-
HJ 500 (Del Bell) Constitutional amendment; right to work (first reference). (Would force this out as a balloting initiative, not necessary because language exists in state statute)
SB 812 (Sen. Martin) Virginia Freedom of Information Act; access to salary information, etc., of public employees. (Excludes the name of any employee including officials from disclosure)
SB 759 (Sen. Reynolds) Workers’ compensation; compensable consequences. (Makes it harder for employees to defend themselves and adds the ability of an employer to place blame on employee for “secondary” injuries. Shortens the window for the process for the employee as well to file appeal)
SJ 301 (Sen. Martin) Constitutional amendment; right to a secret ballot (first reference). (Adds employee representation secret ballot to the state bill of rights)
In addition, there are a few goodbills pertaining to worker’s rights that we hope you will support!
HB 1475 (Del Ware) Workers’ compensation; presumption that injury arises out of employment. (Involves brain injury in particular).
HB 1509 (Del Scott) Employment- prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.
SB 747 (Sen. McEachin) Nondiscrimination in state employment; prohibited based on race, color, religion, etc. (adds language to include sexual preference)
Thank You for your help and enthusiasm!