Illegal alien inmate bill advances to Virginia Senate

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RICHMOIND (WSLS 10) - A bill that would allow local jails to continue to hold illegal aliens after their release dates has advanced to the Virginia Senate.

Delegate Bob Marshall's proposed legislation says jails cannot release inmates if federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, has issued a detainer order.  The House of Delegates passed it with a 68 to 31 vote.

Blue Ridge Regional Jail Authority Superintendent Tim Trent believes the legislation is likely in response to a 2015 opinion, in which Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said detainers are merely requests and jails aren't bound by law to honor them.

"I understand the Attorney General's opinion is just an opinion. It's not law. It's an opinion," said Tim Trent. "But generally, we follow his opinions. My attorney, Blue Ridge authority's attorney, has recommended that we follow the attorney general's opinion and not honor them."

Local jail budgets take a hit to house the illegal aliens longer. The federal government reimburses the jails, but the state takes a cut of that federal money.