WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump is preparing for the next round in the fight against undocumented immigrants. He is expected to issue an amended executive order next week.
Governors nationwide are concerned about how the new executive order will affect people in their states, including Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
McAuliffe tackled the topic of recent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids and gang-related crimes in Northern Virginia during the “Ask the Governor” session on WTOP radio. He warned recent federal policy changes are rolling back civil liberties – a founding principle in the United States.
"We just need a clear understanding, all of us governors need a clear understanding what is going to go on in our states, who is going to be stopped, why are they going to be stopped, and we just want to know the guidelines going forward because I am very concerned this will drive people underground,” the governor said. “People won't seek the medical care they need, they won’t report crimes they may see and there won’t be a working partnership with their communities and that is my biggest concern."
McAuliffe is also concerned about the recent arrest of six men in Alexandria who were leaving a hypothermia shelter at a church.
“ICE agents basically accosted them without any due process,” said McAuliffe. “The first person they talked to was a legal resident of the United States of America. We now know that they have gone into several homes looking for someone. That person is not there and then asking other people at home. Listen, we all want to keep our communities safe. But there is a very fine line between keeping our community safe and trampling on civil liberties.”
FOX 5 also asked the governor about the recent murder of a teenage girl, Damaris Reyes Rivas, whose remains were found in Fairfax County. A group of suspected gang members were arrested in the case.
ICE confirmed they have detainers for all four of the adults that are charged in connection to Rivas’ murder. Some wonder if increased immigration enforcement could have prevented the crime.
"You have a lot of could ofs, should ofs in there,” he said. “That is the issue. Could of, maybe, I don't know. That is the issue we have to deal with – where is that fine line to protect civil liberties and keep our communities safe?”
This will be up for debate even more starting Thursday. Members of the National Governors Association are in town for their winter meeting. McAuliffe and other members of the association have a planned meeting with President Trump on Monday morning.