Thursday, August 12, 2010

Governor McDonnell offers Feds help with immigration laws

Memorandum of Agreement Would Allow Certain Virginia State Police Officers to Perform Limited Functions of an Immigration Officer

RICHMOND – After months of discussions, Governor Bob McDonnell has formally requested that the Department of Homeland Security enter into a 287(g) agreement with the Virginia Department of State Police allowing certain Virginia troopers to perform certain functions of a federal immigration officer within the borders of the Commonwealth. The letter follows the governor’s remarks last week that his Administration has been in communication with federal authorities since February on the issue.

Speaking about the formal request, the governor noted, “I have been a longtime proponent of allowing certain state and local law enforcement officers to assist the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with the enforcement of immigration laws within the Commonwealth. A partnership of this nature will serve to improve public safety, while providing more resources to an underfunded and understaffed federal agency in the fight against criminal illegal immigration. This effort has been underway in our Administration since our first months in office. The Superintendent of the Virginia Department of State Police, Secretary of Public Safety, and my Chief of Staff have all met with federal officials to express our interest in this law enforcement partnership. The federal government is clearly responsible for border security and immigration law enforcement in this country. However, Section 287(g) of the amended Immigration and Nationality Act wisely permits state and local assistance in that enforcement. Virginians want to see our laws enforced and our communities kept safe and secure. This collaborative partnership will help accomplish those critical functions of government. I look forward to a positive response from Secretary Napolitano to our request and a successful federal-state partnership in the years ahead.”

In the letter, Governor McDonnell writes:

“As Virginia’s Attorney General, I advocated for 287(g) authority for the Virginia Department of State Police. We were successful in assisting a number of local governments in executing 287(g) agreements, which are now working well. Since I became Governor, my Superintendent of the Virginia Department of State Police began making inquiries in February of 2010 regarding potential 287(g) authority for limited purposes for certain State Police Officers. Additionally, my Chief of Staff and Secretary of Public Safety have discussed this initiative, along with ideas on other immigration enforcement issues, with Assistant Secretary John Morton, his Chief of Staff, Suzanne Barr, and other federal partners. The ongoing discussions and a productive meeting have resulted in a verbal commitment to move forward in a strategic manner relating to 287(g) authority.”

The letter to Secretary Napolitano CLICK HERE.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Politics, State Politics

Tags: ,

Comments (1)


August 13th, 2010 at 1:04 AM    

As you may know, Virginia is the only state that bans the use and sale of detectors. There is no evidence that the detector ban increases highway safety. Our nation’s fatality rates have fallen consistently for almost two decades. Virginia’s fatality rate has also fallen, but not any more dramatically than it has nationwide. Research has even shown that radar detector owners have a lower accident rate than motorists who do not own a detector.

Maintaining the ban is not in the best interest of Virginians or visitors to the state. I know and know of people that will not drive in Virginia due to this ban. Unjust enforcement practices are not unheard of, and radar detectors can keep safe motorists from being exploited by abusive speed traps. Likewise, the ban has a negative impact on Virginia’s business community. Electronic distributors lose business to neighboring states and Virginia misses out on valuable sales tax revenue.

Radar detector bans do not work. Research and experience show that radar detector bans do not result in lower accident rates, improved speed-limit compliance or reduce auto insurance expenditures.
• The Virginia radar detector ban is difficult and expensive to enforce. The Virginia ban diverts precious law enforcement resources from more important duties.
• Radar detectors are legal in the rest of the nation, in all 49 other states. In fact, the first state to test a radar detector ban, Connecticut, repealed the law – it ruled the law was ineffective and unfair. It is time for our Virginia to join the rest of the nation.
• It has never been shown that radar detectors cause accidents or even encourage motorists to drive faster than they would otherwise. The Yankelovich – Clancy – Shulman Radar Detector Study conducted in 1987, showed that radar detector users drove an average of 34% further between accidents (233,933 miles versus 174,554 miles) than non radar detector users. The study also showed that they have much higher seat belt use compliance. If drivers with radar detectors have fewer accidents, it follows that they have reduced insurance costs – it is counterproductive to ban radar detectors.
• In a similar study performed in Great Britain by MORI in 2001 the summary reports that “Users (of radar detectors) appear to travel 50% further between accidents than non-users. In this survey the users interviewed traveling on average 217,353 miles between accidents compared to 143,401 miles between accidents of those non-users randomly drawn from the general public.” The MORI study also reported “Three quarters agree, perhaps unsurprisingly, that since purchasing a radar detector they have become more conscious about keeping to the speed limit…” and “Three in five detector users claim to have become a safer driver since purchasing a detector.”
• Modern radar detectors play a significant role in preventing accidents and laying the technology foundation for the Safety Warning System® (SWS). Radar detectors with SWS alert motorists to oncoming emergency vehicles, potential road hazards, and unusual traffic conditions. There are more than 10 million radar detectors with SWS in use nationwide. The federal government has earmarked $2.1 million for further study of the SWS over a three-year period of time. The U.S. Department of Transportation is administering grants to state and local governments to purchase the SWS system and study its effectiveness (for example, in the form of SWS transmitters for school buses and emergency vehicles). The drivers of Virginia deserve the right to the important safety benefits that SWS delivers.
*** A small surcharge($5-$10) or tax(2%-3%) could be added to the price of the device to make-up for any possible loss of revenue from reduced number of speeding tickets and the loss of tickets written for radar detectors.***

Please sign this petition and help repeal this ban and give drivers in Virginia the freedom to know if they are under surveillance and to use their property legally:

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