Category Archives: Immigration

All Hat, No Cattle

Governor Glenn Youngkin. Photo Credit: Associated Press

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

In Texas, the phrase, “all hat, no cattle” refers to someone who is all talk with little substance. Governor Glenn Youngkin is in the running for one of those hats.

The latest “Team Youngkin” fund-raising scare e-mail deals with fentanyl.

It starts off by recounting the number of fatal overdoses in Virginia attributable to fentanyl. That is why, the Governor says, “I didn’t hesitate when Governor Greg Abbott asked for additional resources to assist in critical border security efforts in Texas. I deployed the Virginia National Guard, and 100 brave Virginians answered the call to serve and protect our Commonwealth by going to Texas and joining the mission to stop fentanyl from flowing unabated into America.”

It is closer to home that Youngkin emphasizes the real problem. “Unfortunately, our efforts to punish the criminals who sell deadly fentanyl in our neighborhoods have been blocked by the far-left in control of the Virginia Senate.” He is referring to the Senate killing his legislation (SB 1490) that would have made anyone distributing a substance containing more than two milligrams of fentanyl, without the person obtaining the substance knowing that it contained fentanyl, guilty of attempted first-degree murder. If someone died from using that substance, the distributor would be guilty of first-degree murder. Continue reading

Youngkin at the Border

Governor Glenn Youngkin looks over the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas, July 26, 2023. Official Photo by Christian Martinez, Office of Governor Glenn Youngkin

Yeah, yeah, I know, Governor Glenn Youngkin is angling for a spot on the Republican presidential ticket next year, and he doesn’t do anything without considering the political implications first. But that doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Even politicians can do the right thing once in a while.

Such is the case with Youngkin’s decision to send Virginia national guardsmen to the Texas border to assist Texas in holding back the flood of illegal border crossings. It is reasonable to ask whether this state-led intervention has accomplished anything tangible and is worth the funds expended. But the principle is sound: when the federal government fails utterly and absolutely in this core responsibility, the states are justified in stepping in. Youngkin’s visit to the border sends a powerful message: don’t mess with Texas — or Virginia. — JAB

Population Changes in the Commonwealth Since the 2020 Census

by James C. Sherlock

The Bureau of the Census has issued its estimates of the population changes in Virginia and its 133 jurisdictions since the 2020 census.

They are always of interest, but perhaps more so since 2020-2022 spanned the COVID years.

The categories of change calculated by the Census Bureau are total change, natural change (births minus deaths) and migration. They provided the raw numbers.

In the attached spreadsheet, I let Excel calculate the percentages, which I find more meaningful. Some are surprising given that it was only a two-year period, but perhaps not, since it spanned the COVID years.

We’ll examine them. Continue reading

FIVE QUESTIONS: Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares

by Shaun Kenney

Last week, TRS was able to sit down and talk with Virginia’s Attorney General Jason Miyares (R-VA) about the challenges he is facing from opioid and fentanyl abuse to the FBI Richmond’s targeting of Catholics in the public square.

Miyares — a longstanding conservative in the tradition of Ronald Reagan and a leading thinker in his own right — shares his convictions, his hope for civility over violence, and some discussion on what he rightly calls the American Miracle.

So it seems as if some congratulations are in order. Russian President Vladimir Putin has put you on the Russian sanctions list. What did you do to earn such an esteemed award?

Yeah, I keep making lists!

I keep visiting with the Uigurs in Northern Virginia. I find it interesting but not surprising because we have such a different worldview. I detest autocracy and tyranny in all forms. When Putin said that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the single greatest catastrophe of the 20th century, I view that as Ronald Reagan’s greatest victory.

Yet the reality of any autocratic regime is that ideology trumps the individual. C.S. Lewis said that of all the tyrannies in the world, the tyrannies that are for your benefit are the worst in the world. Solzhenitsyn writes about this in the Gulag Archipelago.
Continue reading

Five Questions: An Interview with Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears

by Shaun Kenney

Last week, The Republican Standard had the opportunity to follow Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears as she toured the Richmond Slave Trail — which included not only the site of the notorious Lumpkins Slave Jail but also the site where Gabriel Prosser was executed and presumably buried in 1800.

Winsome Earle-Sears brought a narrative rooted in the role of hope in human liberation, whether it was in her own tradition from Jamaica to the hopelessness that seems to infect so much of our political discourse today. TRS was able to sit down with the Lieutenant Governor in order to explore her thoughts on this topic and many others.

We just toured Lumpkin’s Slave Jail site. Clearly this is a place with a lot of hurt and anguish, but a little bit of courage and heroism. Where do you think that resilience — that hope — comes from given the experiences of the past?

People look at me and think that I have courage, but I don’t. I have no special store of courage more than the next guy, but I have counted the cost and what I say and do comes with consequences.
There are times when people believe that I am not willing to take that stand, but God comes along and tells me to pick up my cross. Many people attribute that to me being a Marine, but it is really not: it is attributable to my Christian Faith.
Continue reading

The Registered Nurse Shortage

by James C. Sherlock

I have reported often about the severe and increasing shortages of nurses both in Virginia and nationally.

At some point in nearly everyone’s life, we literally will not be able to live without the help of a nurse, whether for injury or illness or just declining overall health.

We need both the nurses and ourselves to be safe when that happens. We will have to fill the shortages, first by recruitment and retention. Perhaps simultaneously by increased legal immigration of qualified nurses from other countries.

This article will focus first on what RNs were paid in 2021, both in Virginia and nationwide. We will examine it in absolute and in relative terms. Virginia in 2021 was competitive on pay in relative terms. But wages may be insufficient in absolute terms to address the shortages.

Then we will discuss what else needs to be done to recruit, train and retain more nurses. I mentioned in an earlier article that RN instructors in training programs are one of the biggest needs.

The Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics have captured the large increases in registered nurse (RN) pay across the board and the doubling of the pay of travel nurses in 2021. Those pay surges were driven by COVID supply and demand and funded partially by federal emergency money.

You will see that, by what I consider a useful calculation, Virginia RN’s median wage compensation is 18th among the states when adjusted for each state’s cost of living index. Virginia is the top-paying state among adjacent states and the District of Columbia.

Regardless of the reason, it was past time that we paid them more. We need the pay raises to stick. It is the only way over the long run to begin increasing the supply.

I say begin because there are other factors driving nurses away. Safety is a huge factor. Continue reading

Coal in Virginia

From Virginia Coal, An Abridged History.

by James C. Sherlock

When we talk of coal today, which is seldom, it is usually not treated well.

It is easy to forget (if some even know) that coal powered the industrial revolution, made America the richest nation in the world and fueled American war production that supported allied victories in both world wars in the 20th century.

Coal powered nearly everything starting in the early part of the 19th century. Power plants, trains, ships, and virtually anything else powered by steam used coal to boil the water.

The iron and then steel-making process depended then, and still does, on coking coal.

Coal — and the co-dependent railroads — played big roles in Virginia history.

I strongly recommend to you Virginia Coal, An Abridged History. It was published in 1990 by the Virginia Center for Coal & Energy Research at Virginia Tech.

Continue reading

Refugees in Virginia

by James C. Sherlock

Happy New Year and welcome to everyone in Virginia granted refugee status by the federal government.

You are the latest part of a tradition of welcoming refugees that predates the republic.

The definition of refugee is:

Any person who is outside his or her country of nationality or habitual residence, and is unable or unwilling to return to or seek protection of that country due to a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

That status must be both claimed and granted by the federal government.

Claiming refugee status, as many of the millions swarming over the southern border do, is not the same as being granted that status. Those without criminal records and not automatically eligible because of their countries of origin are allowed to remain until a judge rules on their claim.

Virginia has a high-functioning state agency, the Office of Newcomer Services (ONS) in the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS), and a number of private non-profits, who help them settle and get started with the aid of federal funding.

From Oct. 1, 2015 through the end of September 2021, Virginia resettled 12,873 persons with refugee status, a large majority of whom did not come from the Americas.

The three largest sources of persons granted refugee status and re-settled in Virginia over that period were from Afghanistan (8,560), Democratic Republic of the Congo (1,194), and Iraq (823).

The only significant source of those from the Americas was El Salvador (368).

I will update this list as soon as the 2022 numbers are available, but they will include for the first-time refugees from Ukraine, now given special refugee status by the U.S. government. Continue reading

New Census Bureau Numbers and the Southern Border

Joe Biden. Official Photo Why is this man smiling?

by James C. Sherlock

I just received my “Happy New Year 2023” message from the Census Bureau.

“As the nation prepares to ring in the new year, the U.S. Census Bureau today projected the U.S. population will be 334,233,854 on Jan. 1, 2023.

Happy New Year 2023!

This represents an increase of 1,571,393, or 0.47%, from New Year’s Day 2022.”

It may prove useful to compare that to the number of people illegally crossing the southern border in that same period. NBC news reports 2.76 million. But who knows?

But the celebration, certainly any toast, is premature pending the near- and long-term consequences of the madness there.

This represents kind of an “in your face, America” comment from the Biden administration.

We have come to expect that.

Perhaps, in one of his stories, he will refer to himself as the new father of his country.

Afghan Immigrants and Their Children in Virginia – Part 2 – the Afghan Adjustment Act

Courtesy of Virginia Department of Social Services

by James C. Sherlock

When I wrote Part 1 of this series, I promised further investigation into immigration of Afghan allies into Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS), a hero in this story, has been entirely forthcoming in answering my inquiries. I will recount in a follow-up post their work so far. But the federal government has much more to do.

As a retired Naval officer, I strongly support the bi-partisan Afghan Adjustment Act (the Act) sitting in committees in the House and Senate. We must do the right thing for allies who fought alongside us.

Neither the House nor the Senate acted upon the bill in 2022.

The VDSS Office of New Americans, funded by the federal government, is doing terrific work, but needs the help that the Act would bring.

VDSS is assisting 5,161 Afghan parolees.

Parole offers only limited, temporary benefits and — unlike refugees and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders — parolees have no clear path to permanent status. Instead, those thousands of parolees live in Virginia uncertain about their options or their future in the United States.

There are 2,123 additional Afghans in the Commonwealth that already have SIV designation.

Only California and Texas host more Afghans who have fled their country since the American withdrawal.

Both SIVs and parolees who qualify as SIVs but await very limited numbers of authorized visas are welcome with our thanks for their service. They can be expected to make major contributions to Virginia.

We owe them the chance to do that. That is why the Act is so necessary. Continue reading

Afghan Immigrants and Their Children in Virginia – Part 1

Courtesy of Virginia Department of Social Services

by James C. Sherlock

The flow of Afghan refugees into Virginia has been at a much higher volume than is generally appreciated.

I have data on Virginia resettlements of Afghanis from 2016 through the middle of 2021, when the total was 8,560.

The current total is far higher as a result of the Kabul airlift. A government survey reports that 41,000 of that group admitted to the U.S. settled in Texas, California and Virginia.

A significant majority of the Afghanis admitted between 2016 and the middle of 2021 have been granted Special Immigrant Visas and are lawful permanent residents.

Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) have been issued to those who took significant risks to support our military and civilian personnel in Afghanistan, were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government or our coalition forces in Afghanistan, or are a family member of someone who did.

I think I speak for all Virginians when I welcome them and thank them for their service.

I have embarked on an effort to understand the numbers and impact of those refugees on our institutions, especially our public schools.

And our impact on them. Continue reading

Sanctuary Sell-Out

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney

by Jon Baliles

If you time warp all the way back to early 2017 (which on some days seems like 30 years ago), then-newly-sworn-in Mayor Levar Stoney issued a directive that Richmond would be a sanctuary city in opposition to then-newly-sworn-in President Trump’s executive orders on immigration (that were later struck down). Many cities across the country issued similar orders/directives.

City of Richmond employees, including police, would not ask anyone about their immigration status or cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in deporting anyone in the country illegally. Stoney said on the day of the announcement, “That is not the country we are. That is not the city we will be.”

The Mayor’s directive said, in part: “in the interest of public safety and protecting communities, will maintain its policy of not inquiring as to the place of birth or immigration status of individuals with whom it comes into contact.”

If you recall the hubbub surrounding this, the directive did not actually use the term “sanctuary city,” and Richmond for years had been not working cooperatively with ICE on immigration matters. The same applied to Henrico and Chesterfield and Hanover — none of the regions’ governments or law enforcement had any such working arrangement. In fact, nationwide in 2017, there were only 38 police departments that had a signed working agreement with ICE, and only one in Virginia (Prince William County).

Why does that matter now, in 2022?

Well, that’s because the directive and sentiment from 2017 was voided by the Mayor when he and the former police chief took credit for stopping the July 4th alleged mass shooting that wasn’t, but which made them both stars for a few days on cable TV news about stopping gun violence. Continue reading

Infographic of the Day: Where Virginia’s Immigrants Come From

Infographic credit: Virginia Public Access Project

One out of eight inhabitants of Virginia was born outside the United States, according to a post about Virginia’s foreign-born population published by the Virginia Public Access Project. The percentage is even higher in two congressional districts (CDs) with highly competitive races this year — 23.1% in CD 10, where Republican Hung Cao, the son of Vietnamese immigrants, is running, and 14.5% in CD 7, where Republican Yesli Vegam, the daughter of Salvadoran immigrants, is running.

Statewide, Asia is the largest source of immigrants to Virginia (47%), followed by Latin America (37%). Far fewer come from either Africa (7%) or Europe (8%).

Correction: The original version of this post placed Cao and Vegam in the wrong districts. The error has been corrected.


“This Community Doesn’t Have Excuses”

by James A. Bacon

The Washington Post has a feel-good story about a Northern Virginia trailer park on Rt.1 where residents, mostly from Central America, have pulled together to help one another. They watch after one another’s children and give one another rides. They invite outsiders to come teach them practical things, like how to contest evictions and how to safeguard against COVID-19. They invite policemen to the neighborhood, and they distribute fresh produce to those who need it. They even have their own WhatsApp group they use to communicate.

While the men work, the women have organized themselves in a “network of moms” to keep the community running.

Ana Delia Romero, who is partially blind, provided the spark. After surviving a severe bout of COVID-19, she wanted to get more information about the virus to her neighbors, many of whom spoke indigenous languages, not English or even Spanish. Continue reading

Virginia Needs Better Information Sharing to Provide Mandated Public Services to Illegals Efficiently and Effectively

by James C. Sherlock

I am on record as a persistent advocate of improving the quality of both schools and medical services for poor and minority citizens. It has been the main focus of my work for years.

In a directly related matter, we read, with different reactions depending upon our politics, of the struggles with uncontrolled immigration on border states on the one hand and D.C, New York City and Los Angeles on the other.

We are treated to the public spectacle of the mayors of sanctuary cities deploring massive new influxes of illegal border-crossers and asking for federal assistance. It provides one of the best object lessons in being careful what you ask for in recent public life.

All of that is interesting, but Virginians know that the problem is increasing. They know Virginia can’t fix it, and they want to know how Virginia will deal with it.

By law we owe illegals services. And we need to provide them efficiently and effectively both for humanitarian reasons and to ensure that citizens are not unnecessarily negatively affected.

There is work to do. Continue reading