Category Archives: Immigration

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.

— JAB

“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

A Mean-Spirited Amendment

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

The 2021 General Assembly passed legislation that made students who fall into the “DACA” category (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), sometimes called the “Dreamers,” eligible for in-state tuition at Virginia institutions of higher education.

To be eligible for in-state tuition regardless of citizenship or immigration status, an applying student must have:

  1. Attended high school in Virginia for at least two years;
  2. Graduated from high school on or after July 1, 2008; and
  3. Filed Virginia income tax returns ( by the student or parents) for at least two years prior to the college application date.

Out of the funding provided for financial aid to students in higher education institutions in the budget bill it adopted, the General Assembly earmarked $5 million each year for DACA students.

Governor Youngkin submitted a budget amendment that “redirected” that funding to financial assistance for students attending Virginia’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Those institutions would be Virginia State in Petersburg and Norfolk State in Norfolk. Continue reading

The Fiscal Challenge of Educating Immigrant Children

by James A. Bacon

Last week Victoria Manning, a member of the Virginia Beach school board, posted a comment on her Facebook page noting that the school system had added 300 additional English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) students the past year, mostly from “South America.” The city’s ESL budget had increased more than $1 million over two years, she wrote. “Continuing to educate South Americans is not sustainable.”

Predictably, her comment drew fire. “When you say and specifically mention Latin Americans, you’re telling me indirectly that you have something against people that are brown or Black or Indian or aboriginal and so on that come from south of the United States border,” said Luis Rivera with the Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission. The Virginia Beach Democratic Committee termed the statement “racist.”

Once you call someone a racist, you pretty well shut down the conversation. But there are legitimate issues here. That the ESL program is causing fiscal stress to Virginia Beach schools is undeniable. WAVY-TV reports the numbers here.

Manning elaborated upon her comments to the television station. The city is already short 100 teachers, she said, and now it has to add eight more ESL positions. “If you have a program with an increasing number of students with fewer teachers then the program is unsustainable.” Continue reading

Undocumented Aliens vs. Undocumented Vaccinations

Screen grab from the University of Virginia website: “DACA & Undcoumented Student Resources.”

by Walter Smith

Prior to the fall 2021 semester, the University of Virginia disenrolled 238 students, including 49 who had already registered for classes. What was their offense? Take a guess.

  1. Entering and residing in the country illegally, or
  2. Refusing to get COVID vaccinated in violation of a university policy that has since been overturned.

If you answered (2), you have been paying attention. If you also knew that UVa had declared in June 2020 that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status no longer disqualified an applicant from attending the university, you are really on top of things.

“Our mission as a university is to attract outstanding students who will make our community stronger and the world a better place,” said UVa President Jim Ryan in this June 2020 article. “We should be open to all qualified applicants – and this decision is an important step in the right direction.”

Solicitude to “all” qualified applicants did not extend to those who presented no documentation of vaccinations and boosters. University policy compelled “all students attending in the Spring 2022 semester … to upload proof” — documentation, if you will — “of an approved booster shot to the HealthyHoos patient portal” or face expulsion.  Continue reading

A Naval Officer Prepares to Repel Boarders

Lt. Ron DeSantis

by James C. Sherlock

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced he has put $8 million in his new budget to transport illegal immigrants to other states and D.C.

He listed Delaware and Martha’s Vineyard as potential destinations.

This of course will be Florida’s response to the Biden administration flying 70 planeloads of illegals into the state in the middle of the night.

BTW, do we know if Virginia got any of those flights? We really don’t know how many of these flights from the border, just like the flights from Afghanistan, landed and disgorged their passengers in Virginia.  Therefore we have no idea what the impact is and will be.  We don’t know that because Northam does not want to know or tell us.

Gov. DeSantis did and is speaking up about what he will do about it.

Excuse the schadenfreude, but it will be huge fun seeing dark blue Delaware and Massachusetts put state troopers on their borders to block entry of buses full of illegal immigrants.

I can’t wait.

In Fairfax, Illegal-Alien Rights Trump Citizen Rights

by James A. Bacon

Apparently, protecting illegal aliens from U.S. immigration authorities is more important to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors than safeguarding the transparency of police blotters, which have been a mainstay of local media crime reporting and public information about crime in the community.

The Fairfax County Police Department has stopped publishing its weekly arrest blotter. Immigrant rights and civil liberty groups had been pushing for the change, arguing that the weekly compilations, which includes arrestees’ records and other details, could help U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) target immigrants for deportation, reports the Associated Press.

Remarkably, Diane Burkley Alejandro, executive director of ACLU People Power, said she has no evidence that ICE is actually using the blotters to track down immigrants. Rather, she says, the information provides a “road map” that might allow ICE to locate them as it employs new data-mining tools.

Citizens can still obtain the arrest data, but only by filing a Freedom of Information Act request subject to a month-long response time and possible fees. Continue reading

Welcome to America

Afghan refugees boarding a bus at Dulles international Airport. Photo credit: AP

Thousands of Afghan refugees are arriving at Fort Lee in Virginia for medical treatment and immigration processing before settling permanently in the U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, who visited Fort Lee Monday, estimates that 70,000 to 80,000 Afghans live in the U.S., reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Odds are that most of the refugees from Taliban-ruled Afghanistan — more than 140,000 have been evacuated by the U.S. military — will end up in the United States, where they will plug into existing Afghan communities in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, Charlottesville, and elsewhere. Here at Bacon’s Rebellion, we thank the Afghans for their assistance to American forces, welcome  them to the U.S., and wish them well as they build new lives for themselves.

— JAB

The Border Crisis Is Here, Virginia

by James A. Bacon

Off the top of your head, which states would you expect to be the top destinations for illegal immigrants? California, of course. Texas. Florida. New York. Would you expect Virginia to be in the Top 10?

By at least one metric — the number of pending immigration cases — Virginia is sixth in the nation. According to the TRAC Immigration database, there are more than 58,000 immigration cases on the waiting list, and the number continues to grow, reports WSLS television.

Relatively speaking, Virginia has been less impacted by the mass rush on the border that commenced several months ago. Only 923 cases have been filed in Virginia in the last 90 days, ranking it 11th in the country. Still, the Old Dominion is in the front lines of the illegal immigration crisis to a greater degree than I ever imagined. Unfortunately, our public policy debate does not reflect this reality. Continue reading

Child Endangerment at Home and on the Border

by Kerry Dougherty

Baby Boomers are fond of social media posts that glorify their raised-by-wolves childhoods.

They usually go something like this:

We drank out of garden hoses, rode in the back of pick-ups, didn’t have seat belts let alone car seats, came home when the street lights went on, thought Howard Johnson’s was fine dining, played with BB guns and knives and earned our immunization to chicken pox, mumps and measles the old fashioned way. The fat kid in our class would be considered skinny today.

The implication? We’re tough. Today’s youngsters are pampered.

It’s worth remembering that not everything was wonderful when Boomers were growing up.

Suitcases didn’t have wheels.

Telephones were tethered to the wall.

Televisions received only three channels.

I could go on.

But one thing I remember well from my childhood in a small New Jersey town was that by the time I was six my mother would routinely send me to a corner store to buy her Pall Malls. The shop was probably about half a mile from our house. Continue reading

Podcast: How the General Assembly Has Changed

By Peter Galuszka

I haven’t contributed much to BR lately since I am slammed with non-Virginia work. I did manage to help out on a Podcast about how the General Assembly has changed the state over the last two years as Democrats have gained power.

This Podcast is produced by WTJU, the University of Virginia radio station. I do a weekly talk show on state politics and economics and, on occasion, work on Podcasts.

Joining me is Sally Hudson, a delegate from the Charlottesville area. She is Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Education and Economics. Sally studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford and is one of the youngest members of the General Assembly.

I hope you enjoy it.

Stewart Gets Last-Minute Gift From Trump

Corey Stewart

Peter Galuszka

Corey A. Stewart, a conservative firebrand from Prince William County, is getting a last-minute going-away present from President Donald Trump.

As Trump’s administration comes to an end, Trump has created a position on trade at the U.S. Commerce Department that is just for him. In 2016, Stewart headed Trump’s Virginia election campaign before being fired. Stewart said that he was Trump before Trump was Trump.

Stewart is an international trade lawyer and is expected to strong arm Trump’s tough and confusing trade policies.

A special target is China, which Trump has castigated, with some justification, for cheating on business deals, fiddling with its currency exchange rates, growing its armed forces and trampling on human rights.

Stewart will toughen enforcement of Trump’s hostile trade relations, according to news reports.

Some trade experts wonder what the Stewart story is all about. According to Reuters, William Reinsch, a former Commerce undersecretary, said he viewed hiring as “peculiar” since he is filling a position that does not exist. Continue reading