Showing posts with label Attorney General Cuccinelli. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Attorney General Cuccinelli. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gun In Worship Service Permissable According To Cuccinelli

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says it is lawful in Virginia to carry a weapon into a worship service for personal protection.

But he also says a place of worship can restrict or ban firearms from its premises.

Cuccinelli released the opinion in response to a question from Del. Mark L. Cole, R-Spotsylvania.

Cole asked whether it is permissible for someone to carry a firearm into a place of worship for personal safety under a law that requires a "good and sufficient reason" to do so during a service.

"With respect to your second question, the church can ban guns on its property if it so chooses," Cuccinelli said.

He said the Constitution of Virginia protects the right to bear arms, "but it also recognizes the importance of property rights. Moreover, the Second Amendment acts as a restraint on government, not private parties."

Therefore, he said, "churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious entities can, like any other owner of property, restrict or ban the carrying of weapons onto their private property."


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Protestors Oppose Virginia Immigration Law

Protestors gathered outside of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's regional office in Norfolk Monday to voice their disapproval of the McDonnell Administration's recent actions on immigration.

The group protested for about a half an hour before attempting to enter the building to demand a meeting to drop off informational materials on the effects of anti-immigrant laws on the state. The group was unable to get inside the building so they're going to mail a letter voicing their opposition instead.

Last week, Governor McDonnell set forth to put into place the 287g program throughout the entire state of Virginia. The new law would give state troopers the authority to check people's immigration status when stopped for any reason.

Those organizing the protest, a statewide grassroots organization called Virginia Organizing , say McDonnell and Cuccinelli are "out of touch and reckless on the immigration issue."

Protestors are using this opportunity to encourage the McDonnell Administration to ask Congress to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform instead of attempting to pass anti-immigrant legislation that will infringe on Virginian's rights.

One of the group's organizers told tax dollars are better spent on other issues than deputizing police officers.

Dave Gorak, with the Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration, disagrees with the protesters. He told, "Our immigration laws were created for the main purpose of protecting American workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says 21 million citizens and legal residents, many of them with no more than a high school education, are unable to find full-time jobs." Gorak continued, "Does Virginia Organizing think it fair that, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, the 7 million illegal aliens working in the construction, manufacturing, transportation and the service and hospitality industries be permitted to keep their jobs? If the Obama administration is serious when it says jobs for Americans are a "top priority," why hasn't he ordered their removal from our workforce?"

Monday, August 9, 2010

Controversy: Should Local Police And Sheriffs Check Immigration Status

Citing a recent opinion from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a state lawmaker from Northern Virginia hopes the public pressures its elected city councils and boards of supervisors to require their police and sheriffs to go after illegal immigrants.

But law enforcement agencies around the state — and some of the boards that oversee them — seem averse to adding another duty to already-busy workloads. And the ACLU is urging cities and counties to ignore what it calls Cuccinelli's "legally faulty" opinion, saying it will hurt public safety.

Del. Bob Marshall, R- Manassas, said getting people to understand that local police have the power to investigate the immigration status of people they detain was his goal in asking Cuccinelli to weigh in on the issue.
In an opinion released June 30, Cuccinelli said Virginia law enforcement officers — including local police officers and sheriff's deputies — have the power to ask people they arrest on crimes or pull over in traffic stops about their immigration status.

The Attorney General's opinion doesn't go as far as Arizona's controversial new anti-immigration law. While the Arizona law "directs" police officers to make "a reasonable attempt" to determine the immigration status, Cuccinelli merely said the cops have the power to check, but doesn't mandate they do so.

Cuccinelli made the determination even though illegal immigration is a federal — not state — responsibility. "So long as the officers have the requisite level of suspicion to believe that a violation of the law has occurred, the officers may detain and briefly question a person they suspect has committed a federal crime," he wrote.


Marshall said Cuccinelli's opinion should remove any doubt that local police officers and deputies have that authority.

Marshall's own county, Prince William, has adopted the strictest policy on illegal immigration in the state. The policy, adopted by the county's Board of Supervisors in 2008, requires police to check on the immigration status of everyone arrested — and report any such federal violations to the federal government.

"Why aren't more people doing what Prince William is doing?" Marshall asked. "The government should make this a priority. My thinking is that the public should ask their supervisors to tell their local chiefs of police to go ahead and do this."

Since 2008, sheriffs and directors of Virginia correctional facilities are required to check the immigration status of anyone booked, fingerprinted and taken into custody in their jails. They must report potential violations to the state police, which can then report them to the feds.

But there's no such rule for people given a traffic ticket; arrested on a crime and released on a summons to appear in court later; or arrested and granted bail before being jailed.

Marshall said the illegal immigration problem was highlighted again this week when an illegal immigrant accused of driving drunk slammed into a car carrying three nuns on their way to a retreat in Prince William County.

One of the nuns, Denise Mosier, died in the crash, while the two others are in serious condition. The driver, Carlos Martinelly-Montano, 23, is an illegal immigrant from Bolivia. Martinelly had twice been found guilty of driving drunk. But federal officials, citing a backlog, had not yet held his deportation hearing.

That led Corey A. Stewart, the chairman of Prince William County's Board of Supervisors, to say the federal government "has blood on its hands." The Benedictine nuns also weighed in, saying they don't want the death being exploited for political gain.

This week, using Cuccinelli's opinion as his basis, Marshall wrote to Gov. Robert McDonnell, asking him to issue an executive order requiring law enforcement officers in Virginia to do more to check into immigration status.


But even as Marshall cites Cuccinelli's opinion favorably, the ACLU slammed it in a letter to the police chiefs this week urging them not to follow it.

The ACLU's Virginia legal director, Rebecca Glenberg, said that contrary to Cuccinelli's opinion, state and local police in Virginia don't have the power to inquire about the immigration status of the people they stop. The ACLU also cited a federal judge's opinion last week that threw out portions of the Arizona law.

"The Attorney General's opinion provides no guidelines as to when questions about immigration status is justified," Glenberg wrote. "Because most police officers have not been trained to enforce immigration law, allowing them to question individuals about immigration status is an invitation for racial profiling."

Such grilling, she said, would also "have an adverse effect on public safety" because illegal immigrants would feel less safe cooperating with police.

To the ACLU's letter, Marshall responded: "The ACLU's position essentially allows alien terrorists and gang members to be untouchable in this country. We cannot allow this to continue."

In contrast to Prince William County, Virginia State Police and most local police departments and sheriff's offices around the state take a hands-off approach to illegal immigration.

Citing illegal immigration as a federal responsibility, police departments seem content not to get overly involved. They typically leave it up to individual police officers to decide whether or not to ask about immigration status — and whether or not to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE).


"We're just trying to keep feet on the street," said Dana Schrad, the executive director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police. "When you don't have the resources that you need, you're most certainly going to give your most immediate attention to what represents the real danger to the community."

"Investigating (an immigration violation) is up to the individual officer," added Hampton police spokeswoman Allison Quinones. "Is it something that's mandatory? No." But if information "presents itself" during a criminal investigation that someone is here illegally, she said, officers can and do often report that to ICE.

Numbers were not available on how often Newport News, Hampton or the State Police notify the federal government about illegal immigrants. They say they don't keep such numbers.

Recently elected Newport News Mayor McKinley Price said he has not heard from any fellow City Council members or the public that the Newport News police should be doing more.

"I feel comfortable with the way the police are handling the issue," Price said. "We're trying to get these teenagers to stop shooting each other, so there's already plenty to be concerned about."

Schrad said it doesn't always make sense for local cops to bombard federal immigration officials with notifications that they don't act upon. If a local police department reports someone and the feds don't deport him, that could come back to bite the police with reduced cooperation from that person later, Schrad said.

Until there's a national public policy shift, she said, trying to round up all the illegal immigrants up and kick them out is "like trying to bail out the Titanic with a Dixie cup."

Friday, August 6, 2010

Va. ACLU Urges Localities to Ignore Cuccinelli's Opinion

Richmond, Va. --

The ACLU of Virginia urged Virginia police chiefs and sheriffs today to ignore a recent opinion from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli that says police officers can question individuals about their immigration status during a stop or arrest.

Rebecca Glenberg, ACLU's legal director, said the Cuccinelli opinion cited no Virginia law to back it up. Attorney Generals' opinions are advisory and do not have the force of law.

She said the Cuccinelli opinion likely would lead to racial profiling.

Cuccinelli addressed the possibility of racial profiling Wednesday in an interview with CNN.

"Being in Virginia, I can tell you that given our race history, we're very sensitive to not allowing for racial profiling, not allowing the kind of abuse of the legal process as happened in the '40s, '50s, '60s [which] we had to work our way out of frankly, through the '70s and on," Cuccinelli said.

"The way we avoid it in this situation is we apply the same rules to everybody."

Cuccinelli noted that the new Arizona immigration law required law enforcement officers to inquire about immigration status. Cuccinelli's opinion said that Virginia's law enforcement officers may make such inquiries, but they are not required to do so.

He said he expects that local governments around the state will devise their own policies for how their police and sheriffs should proceed.

Also today, Corey A. Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, said he is asking Congress to subpoena Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for information about criminal illegal aliens that ICE is no longer taking into physical custody.

Stewart's inquiry follows a car crash in Prince William County that killed one nun and critically injured two others.

Carlos A. Martinelly Montano is charged in the crash with third-offense driving under the influence, involuntary manslaughter and driving on a revoked license.

The three nuns were less than 4 miles from their spiritual home at the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia monastery near Manassas when their car was struck head-on by a vehicle driven by Montano, a native of Bolivia and an illegal immigrant.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security opened an investigation Tuesday into how an illegal immigrant managed to avoid deportation, even after repeated arrests before Sunday's crash.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Judge Rules Cuccinelli's Healthcare Challenge Can Continue

Richmond, Va. --

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's legal challenge to President Barack Obama's national health care overhaul can continue, a federal judge ruled today.

U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson denied a motion brought by lawyers for the administration to dismiss the lawsuit, filed by Virginia in March, a day after Obama signed into law federal health legislation.

"While this case raises a host of complex constitutional issues, all seem to distill to the single question of whether or not Congress has the power to regulate -- and tax -- a citizen's decision not to participate in interstate commerce," wrote Hudson in his 32-page memorandum.

"Given the presence of some authority arguably supporting the theory underlying each side's position, this court cannot conclude at this stage that the complaint fails to state a cause of action," he wrote.

Hudson said the case cannot be resolved without a further hearing on the merits.

While the legal battle over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ultimately is expected to end up in the U.S. Supreme Court, today's ruling is a setback for the administration, which also faces a separate but similar legal challenge to health reform filed by Florida on behalf of 20 states.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fingerprint Program Targets Illegal Immigrants In Virginia

A federal initiative to identify illegal immigrants through enhanced fingerprint-checking at local jails is in place throughout Virginia.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said Monday that Virginia is one of 22 states in the "Secure Communities" program, which is expected to go nationwide by 2013.

Previously, fingerprints of people charged with crimes were checked against a criminal-history database maintained by the FBI. Now they also will be run through an immigration database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. If the prints match information in that system, ICE will be notified to determine the person's immigration status and take enforcement action, if warranted.