For those Virginians hoping the Commonwealth might adopt its own version of
Arizona's recent legislation designed to curb illegal immigration, Governor Bob McDonnell had some carefully chosen words on WTOP this past week.
I'm concerned about the whole idea of carrying papers and always having to be able to prove your citizenship. That brings up some shades of some other regimes that weren't necessarily helpful to democracy.
Leaving aside the fact that comparing one's political or ideological opponents (obliquely or not) to totalitarians is the most cliched of political tropes, the governor does raise an important question. What's the point of solving America's illegal immigration problem if it comes at the price of Gestapo-like squads of armed bureaucrats roaming the streets demanding "Papers, please" from every person in sight?
Of course, the problem with such an analogy is that Arizona's law only allows police to request proof of citizenship from people already involved in committing a crime.
But try explaining that to Al Sharpton. The governor went on to muse that
There's a divide, I'm finding, between Republicans who are ready to accept Rasmussen poll results as validation that the bill is a winner for them, and Republicans who see long-term damage in Arizona.
It's unclear what "long-term damage" Gov. McDonnell is referring to, unless he means Republican political fortunes in Arizona. In which case, he might be encouraged to note the law's effectiveness at helping illegal immigrants choose to accept the hospitality and public services of other states.
In other words, Arizona taxpayers are already seeing a benefit, and the law hasn't even gone into effect yet.
Meanwhile, Virginia taxpayers shell out $1.7 billion per year to provide for the needs of illegal immigrants here. Costs which our governor helps to cover by hiking taxes during a recession and cleverly calling them "fees."
Much like his temerity and failure to act with regard to repealing Virginia's corporate income tax, while unemployment sits at record levels and the budget drowns in red ink, Gov. McDonnell is once again so concerned with not rocking the boat that he can't be bothered to admit it may be sinking.
It is one thing to run as a Conservative and cultivate such a reputation in a heavily-Conservative state, especially one that has a serious case of buyer's remorse for its 2008 electoral vote for Barry Vladimir Hussein Soetoro Obama. It sounds as if McDonnell is channeling John McCain and Lindsey Graham in the land of the RINOs. Is McDonnell now trying to prove that he isn't TOO conservative? This bears monitoring.