WASHINGTON COUNTY, VA - We told you two weeks ago about rumors immigrant children could relocate to the Virginia Intermont College campus. At that time, we also found out the Washington County Board of Supervisors were planning to take action to keep that from happening.
We spoke with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services to see if VI was an option for housing the children. They told us the list of sites being considered is not available.
On Tuesday night, the Washington County, Va. Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution saying they do not want immigrant children to be housed in the county or the surrounding areas.
"It's nothing against children or immigrants," said Dr. James Baker, the board member who proposed the resolution. "These really aren't immigrants. Immigrants come through the front door, these are sneaking through the window."
Baker called this an issue of lawlessness. He wrote in the measure, "the United States' southern border is currently being invaded by tens of thousands of illegal aliens."
We asked if he really felt the U.S. is being invaded. He replied, "I think it's hard to find a definition of invaded that doesn't fit."
Baker said that's why his resolution explicitly states they don't want illegal immigrants within the county, "unless charged as federal or state criminals."
It's tougher than the first draft from County Administrator Jason Berry, which would've told the federal government to ask the county for permission before bringing the children here.
Baker told us he doesn't think the government would give that heads up.
"It's not like they're presenting us with a plan and saying here's where we'll house 300 people, here's the amount of additional monies to support and pay for them that you'll receive," he explained.
Some county residents spoke up at Tuesday's meeting before the measure was approved, asking the board to reconsider.
"It's a complicated thing that is happening but it shows a level of desperation," said one resident.
Abrams Falls Road resident Christina Rehfuss said, "How many of our ancestors had to make the decision to put their kids on a ship and send them across the ocean because if they didn't, their kids would starve to death?"
Despite the opposition, Baker told us he stands by his decision saying the only immigrants welcome here are those who enter legally.
The county's resolution has no legal ground, it's just an opinion.
Baker said they'll send it to representatives at the state and federal level and pass it along to neighboring counties.
Click here to take a look at the resolution.
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