Should Virginia Inquire About Immigration Status When Someone Reports a Crime?

Feb 8, 2018

Credit MBandman / Creative Commons

Should undocumented immigrants fear reporting crime? That’s an issue lawmakers in Richmond are debating.

Undocumented immigrants live in a constant state of fear. That extends to things like reporting a crime to police. Or even serving as witness to a crime. Delegate Alfonso Lopez, a Democrat from Arlington, says police should not inquire about someone’s immigration status when they report a crime.

“Victims of crime or witnesses to crime are too scared to actually cooperate with prosecutors or the police because they are scared of what might happen with themselves or their family or their friends also getting detained.”

But Republicans shot that down. Majority Leader Todd Gilbert.

“My solution to their fear problem would not be to facilitate their illegal status.”

Democrats gained so many seats in last year’s election, although they failed to take the majority. So far, they have not been able to use their new numbers to move the needle on immigration issues.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.