Herring backs Obama on immigration order

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Source - The Daily Progress

"Immigration has been a source of economic, cultural, and social benefit for the commonwealth for more than 400 years," Herring said in a statement Monday.

"While we're waiting on Congress to enact long overdue comprehensive immigration reform, the president has offered lawful, reasonable steps that will boost our economy, keep families intact, and promote public safety by removing criminals and increasing trust between law enforcement and communities.”

Obama in November unveiled a major executive action on immigration policy, offering temporary legal status to up to 5 million of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, along with an indefinite reprieve from deportation.

The president's plan has prompted harsh criticism from Republicans in Congress who say Obama does not have the authority to delay deportations for such a large class of people without congressional authorization.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe supported the move, saying that it will help attract “the best and brightest entrepreneurs to this great state” and help ensure that “top international [talents] who have come to the United States are encouraged to stay here and pursue their careers, which in turn will strengthen our economy and our commonwealth’s future.”

Herring is widely expected to compete with Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2017. The immigration effort could further help Herring with constituents who would vote in a Democratic primary.

Last year Herring declared that children of illegal immigrants who are lawfully present in the United States and Virginia under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program qualify for in-state college tuition.

Last year Herring also said he would not defend Virginia's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, the reforms could extend revocable protection from deportation to up to 92,000 undocumented immigrants in Virginia and produce more than $106 million in increased tax revenue over five years.

The amicus brief makes the case that Obama's actions were "a lawful exercise of executive power that will actually benefit States and further the public interest by allowing qualified undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows, work legally, and better support their families."

The plan would improve the nation's “broken immigration system” by improving border security, making it easier for highly-skilled workers to remain here, demanding accountability from undocumented immigrants who are already here, and prioritizing the deportation of dangerous criminals instead of breaking up families in Virginia and across the nation, Herring's statement said.

The brief was filed in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the United States' appeal of a Texas District Court's ruling that prevented any immigration reform from being enacted in any state. Virginia joined lead amicus Washington, along with California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.

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