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McAuliffe vetoes bill to detain illegal immigrants for longer than necessary

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Terry McAuliffe

RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed legislation Friday that would require Virginia jails to detain individuals longer than necessary if those individuals are suspected of violating federal immigration laws.

House Bill 1468 would force state or local authorities to hold those undocumented immigrants until federal immigration officials allow them to be released.

The measure was passed by the General Assembly after a mostly party-line vote in the House of Delegates.

This is the second consecutive year McAuliffe has vetoed similar legislation.

“My concerns about this proposal have only increased since that time,” he said in a statement.

McAuliffe said the bill is unnecessary as state and local law enforcement already works closely with their federal counterparts in regards to detained illegal immigrants.

“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,” said McAuliffe.

McAuliffe also said he is concerned about the message such a bill would convey.

“This is just one of a series of anti-immigrant measures which have contributed to contention here in Virginia and nationwide,” he wrote.

“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.”

Last month the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia urged McAuliffe not to sign what they called “legislation and plans that target illegal immigrants.”