Leaders Are Skeptical On Both Sides Of Immigration Debate In Va. | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Leaders Are Skeptical On Both Sides Of Immigration Debate In Va.

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By Jonathan Wilson

Prince William County residents will have extra reason to pay attention to President Obama's speech on Immigration Reform Thursday morning.

The county currently has the strictest local rules for illegal immigrants, and its top elected leader has made illegal immigration his signature issue.

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chair Corey Stewart is proud of his county's strict policy on illegal immigrants. It allows police to check the immigration status of anyone they pull over, much like Arizona's law.

Right now he's pushing for Virginia lawmakers to adopt the same rules across the Commonwealth, and he says he'd love to hear the President focus on law enforcement in his speech.

"In my perfect world, the President would enforce the border, and beef up internal enforcement inside the United States," says Stewart.

John Steinbach, with the Immigrant advocacy group Mexicans Without Borders, says the administration has focused too much on detentions and arrests.

"I'm afraid that President Obama is committed to a policy of enforcement first," says Steinbach.

Steinbach says true reform needs to focus instead on creating a pathway to citizenship for the millions of illegals already in the country, doing jobs Americans don't want to do.

Steinbach says this is the chance for Obama to show leadership, but neither he, nor Chairman Stewart, is optimistic about today's speech.

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