Virginia Doesn't Have Any Sanctuary Cities, But What About Sanctuary Policies?

Feb 13, 2018

Credit MBandman / Creative Commons

Sanctuary cities became one of the hottest issues in the campaign last year. Now it’s become one of the most divisive issues in the General Assembly.

Virginia has no sanctuary cities. People on both sides of the issue acknowledge that. But what about sanctuary policies? Republican Delegate Ben Cline of Rockbridge says Arlington has a sanctuary policy — the one that requires federal immigration officials to present a warrant before they hand over individuals for deportation.

“It’s those kind of policies that prevent the deportation of dangerous criminals from this country, and banning sanctuary policies will help make our commonwealth safer.”

Cline is running for the seat currently held by Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte, who is retiring after his current term ends next year. Arlington Delegate Alfonso Lopez, the Democratic whip, says Cline’s bill is nothing more than election year politics.

“This is an election year messaging bill that is dog whistle politics. We all know it. Vote no.”

49 Democrats voted no. But 51 Republicans voted yes, which means it may end up on Governor Ralph Northam’s desk. During the campaign last year, Northam initially campaigned against cracking down on sanctuary cities. But then late in the campaign he said he would sign a bill to ban sanctuary cities.

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