Well, it shouldn’t be a shocker, but it’s still absurd. Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam vetoed a bill that would’ve banned localities from adopting so-called sanctuary city measures, which shields illegal aliens from deportation if they report crimes. That was the selling pitch, by the way. What it has become is a safe space for people who shouldn’t be here, coupled with local authorities inhibiting the enforcement of federal immigration laws. Northam tried to pass that off as the reason for his veto, saying it’s unfair to pass off the costs of immigration enforcement to local police. Virginia Republicans say that the bill merely stated that no locality could adopt ordinances that interfere with the enforcement of federal immigration laws (via WaPo):
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) vetoed a bill Monday that would have prohibited the establishment of sanctuary cities, an issue that dominated his race for governor last year.
The bill was a single sentence: “No locality shall adopt any ordinance, procedure, or policy that restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws.”
Northam suggested the legislation would require Virginia cities and towns to shoulder the burden of enforcing federal immigration law, either by deputizing local police or by holding undocumented inmates in local lockups. He called the measure “unnecessary and divisive.”
“This legislation would force local law enforcement agencies to use precious resources to perform functions that are the responsibility of federal immigration enforcement agencies,” Northam wrote in a statement accompanying the veto. “It also sends a chilling message to communities across Virginia that could have negative impacts on public safety.”
Del. Ben Cline (R-Rockbridge), who sponsored the bill, said the measure was intended only to ban localities from interfering federal immigration actions, not press them into service.
Hey, we can’t all be like Texas on this issue, sadly. Then again, Northam sort of had to do this. First, he’s a Democrat. Democrats are increasingly seeing Immigration and Customs Enforcement as a detestable agency; they’re actually law enforcement agents just doing the jobs of nabbing people who shouldn’t be here. Second, Northam can’t be seen anymore as a flip-flopper to his own party. He already fumbled a little bit on Medicaid expansion after his 2017 win, with The Washington Post reporting last December “Northam said he has no plans to try to force Republicans to accept a broad expansion of Medicaid.” By March, there’s a different tune. Also, remember that ad his campaign reportedly signed off on with the Latino Victory Fund, which shows that conservative Republicans, specifically white voters, want to do nothing more than get into their pickup trucks decked with Confederate flags and run over kids who are minorities. Yeah, the ad was total garbage, and offensive, but probably isn’t too far from how liberal voters view Republicans. Immigration was a hot topic during the 2017 gubernatorial race. Northam can’t be seen as moderating on the immigration issue, even if it’s a popular proposal.