Illegal-Alien Bail Bill Passes House, Enters Senate

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RICHMOND A bill that would determine if illegal aliens charged with a criminal offense are admitted bail was approved and passed to the Senate on the House floor this past week by a 98-0 vote.

Proposed by Delegate Thomas Davis Rust, R-Herndon, House Bill 440 would institute a presumption against admitting bail for any illegal aliens charged with certain crimes and subject to detention by the Law Enforcement Support Center. This center is a part of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Delegate H. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, said many of those charged with crimes listed in the original bill are unlikely to receive bail. He said if the ICE gets involved, the suspect might pose a flight risk.

Where ICE thinks it’s serious enough that they’re going to come get them (illegal aliens), theres a likelihood that they (the aliens) might not stay around, Griffith said.

Father Gerry Creedon, of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Parish, said the legislation seems to imply undocumented immigrants out on bail cannot be trusted to follow the conditions of their bail.

I don’t think that’s a compelling argument, Creedon said.

Creedon said legislation such as HB 440 is part of an overall anti-immigrant movement, one that tends to associate undocumented immigrants with criminal activity. Whether an immigrant is documented should not have an impact on if a presumption of bail exists, Creedon said.

They should be dealt with equally, Creedon said.

The bill is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Committee for Courts of Justice.

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