The Corner

Immigration Matters

Poll Finds Va. Focused On Illegal Immigrants

Issue Could Sway State, Local Races

By Anita Kumar and Jon Cohen  Washington Post  October 24, 2007; A01

After years of simmering in the background, illegal immigration has quickly emerged as one of the key issues in Virginia’s Nov. 6 election, particularly in Northern Virginia, where voters say they are seeking candidates who will address it, according to a new Washington Post poll.

Three-quarters of likely voters in Virginia said immigration is important to their votes in the election for state and local offices, while just a year ago, immigration ranked seventh of 10 listed issues in a Post poll before the U.S. Senate race. Since then, the percentage of Virginia voters calling immigration “extremely” or “very” important to their vote has jumped 15 points.

“That’s heartening,” said Corey A. Stewart (R-At Large), chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, who spearheaded efforts to crack down on illegal immigrants. “For many people, this has really become a serious threat to their quality of life.”

There is a widespread sense that illegal immigration is a local problem, particularly after Congress’s failure to approve an immigration overhaul this summer. That has vaulted the issue into prominence.

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