Anti-Immigrant Virginia Legislator Targets Food, Shelter

A state legislator from the northern Virginia suburbs has proposed a bill to “forbid religious, charitable or community groups from using state or local government money to intentionally serve illegal immigrants by providing food, shelter, education or other social services,” the AP reports.

Del. Jackson Miller, a Republican recently elected to represent the affluent Washington suburb of Manassas, has made “quality of life” issues his political signature, which for him means combating “overcrowding” (i.e., extended family members) and cracking down on undocumented immigrants looking for work. His campaign website lists “illegal immigration” as his top issue.

Miller said he was inspired to act following the efforts by the town council of the nearby suburb of Herndon to create a day-laborer center, which drew fire from right-wing groups like Judicial Watch and the Herndon Minutemen and was incorporated into the 2005 governor’s race by unsuccessful GOP candidate Jerry Kilgore. Nevertheless, his bill is more reminiscent of a provision proposed by Republicans in the U.S. House last year that would have created criminal penalties for churches that give aid to immigrants without checking their papers first.