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Abstract

On July 26, 2007, a federal court ruled it unconstitutional for city officials in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, to implement a local anti-immigrant ordinance that punished employers and landlords for doing business with undocumented immigrants. Despite this well-grounded landmark decision, local governments throughout the nation continue to develop patchwork solutions to a broken federal immigration system, endangering the health and well-being of communities and people alike. Virginia has positioned itself at the forefront of America's immigration debate. Leading up to the 2008 General Assembly session, localities throughout the state developed public statements on immigration, reaffirmed English as the official language, and considered an array of antiimmigrant policies. During the 2008 Virginia General Assembly session, legislators introduced an unprecedented number of bills to deal with diverse social and economic ills that they believed were related to our so-called immigration problem, including bills bearing a striking resemblance to the Hazleton ordinance.