Gov. McAuliffe vetoes bill on detaining undocumented people for longer than necessary

Posted at 10:22 PM, Mar 03, 2017

RICHMOND, Va. – Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill Friday that dealt with treatment of undocumented individuals.

House Bill 1468 would force state or local authorities to detain individuals for longer than necessary if those people were suspected of violating federal immigration laws, the Governor’s office said.

In February a similar action was taken when Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney signed a mayoral directive reaffirming his commitment to protect and promote the safety of all members of the community regardless of their immigration or refugee status.

These actions, along with many others nationwide, are in the wake of President Trump’s immigration order he issued in late January.

The Governor’s statement on House Bill 1468 said:

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 1468. This bill would prohibit the release of certain persons, held by state or local officials, who are suspected of violating U. S. immigration laws. House Bill 1468 is virtually identical to House Bill 481 (2016), which I vetoed last year. My concerns about this proposal have only increased since that time.

First, this bill is unnecessary. The Commonwealth’s law enforcement authorities currently work closely with their Federal counterparts regarding immigrants held in state and local correctional facilities. Imposing the requirements of House Bill 1468 on local sheriffs and jail administrators could inject confusion into this relationship, leading to less effective public safety efforts.

Second, I am concerned about the message this bill conveys. This is just one of a series of anti-immigrant measures which have contributed to contention here in Virginia and nationwide. A year ago, in vetoing House Bill 1468’s predecessor, I said, “Rather than stoking irrational fears of non-citizens present in the Commonwealth, the General Assembly should be focused on substantive policies to improve public safety in Virginia.” This concern is even more valid today.

Accordingly, I veto this bill.