Virginia's attorney general said Monday that his state's law enforcement officers are allowed to check the immigration status of anyone "stopped or arrested."
It’s a decision that lays the groundwork for practices very similar to those in a controversial Arizona law recently blocked by a federal judge, Fox News reported.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued the legal opinion Friday extending the new authority to Virginia police in response to an inquiry over whether his state could mirror the policies passed into law in Arizona.
"It is my opinion that Virginia law enforcement officers, including conservation officers may, like Arizona police officers, inquire into the immigration status of persons stopped or arrested," he wrote.
Cuccinelli's ruling could justify that kind of policy in Virginia. However, Cuccinelli advised against arresting anyone over civil immigration violations. Overstaying a visa would fall under the latter category.
The state's top attorney wrote the opinion in response to a question from state Del. Bob Marshall, who represents Prince William County.
Marshall's county implemented a law that requires police to check the immigration status of everyone they arrest -- but not everyone they come in legal contact with.
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