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GOP Candidate Stewart Vows No 'Sanctuary Cities' in Virginia

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Corey Stewart holding a press conference outside Richmond City Hall Corey Stewart holding a press conference outside Richmond City Hall
Corey Stewart holding a press conference outside Richmond City Hall Corey Stewart holding a press conference outside Richmond City Hall
RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) -

A Republican gubernatorial candidate says he wants to ban sanctuary cities from Virginia.

Corey Stewart held a press conference outside Richmond City Hall Tuesday, May 9. He told reporters if elected, he will push for legislation similar to a law recently approved in the Lone Star State.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott just signed a bill outlawing sanctuary cities. The measure also sets up criminal and civil penalties for local government officials and law enforcement who won't comply with federal immigration law.

Stewart said he thinks the commonwealth should follow suit.

He and a handful of supporters gathered at City Hall because Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has vowed to offer some protection to illegal immigrants.

The GOP candidate believes a tougher stance on illegal immigration is critical to addressing violent crime and drugs.

"There are a lot of establishment Republicans, like my opponent Ed Gillespie, who don't see it as their responsibility to assist federal and state officials in enforcing federal immigration law. And I think they're just wrong. I think they're running away from this issue because it's controversial," said Stewart.

The Gillespie campaign issued a statement saying, "Ed doesn't believe Virginia should have sanctuary cities. As governor, he would support and sign legislation requiring counties and cities to comply with our immigration laws."

Earlier this year, Gillespie released a statement offering support to the Republican-controlled General Assembly for passing legislation cracking down on sanctuary cities.

The third Republican candidate in the gubernatorial primary, Frank Wagner, has also been a supporter of bills in the legislature that have attempted to force more local governments to work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.