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Virginia gubernatorial candidate vows to sign law to ban sanctuary cities

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart says as Governor of Virginia he will crackdown on sanctuary cities in the Commonwealth by holding public officials accountable.

The Republican candidate made the comments Tuesday afternoon during a news conference on the steps of City Hall.

While Richmond isn't a sanctuary city, Mayor Levar Stoney and Police Chief Alfred Durham have said officers will not go out of their way to enforce immigration laws.

Stewart said if elected, he'll sign legislation similar to a Texas law signed Sunday. That particular bill institutes criminal and civil penalties for local government entities and law enforcement that don't comply with immigration laws and detention requests.

“The reason we are going to do this is because these sanctuary cities and sanctuary universities are proliferating around the United States. And I just find this absolutely reprehensible,” said Stewart.

Under Stewart’s proposal, any county, city or college official caught ignoring federal immigration laws would face a $25,000 a day fine, as well as jail time.

“When a locality refuses to cooperate with federal authorities… then that person is breaking federal law and they should be penalized for it.”

Stewart, the former Virginia head of Donald Trump's campaign for president, said the legislation is needed to help target and remove people in the country illegally, who are involved in drug and gang activities.

He said his legislation would be for any locality that has declared it’s self a sanctuary city or locality or any locality that refuses to cooperate with federal law enforcement officials.

Stewart specifically mentioned Richmond as one of those cities.