The Corner

Making International Law Work for Us

Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli’s memo that Virginia cops are permitted to check on the immigration status of people they stop would seem to be obvious, but there was a paragraph that got my attention:

It also should be noted that under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, state and local officers are required to advise foreign nationals of their right to speak with a consular officer when those persons are arrested and held for longer than a short period of time. It is difficult — if not impossible — to effectively provide that advice, mandated by treaty, without making an inquiry into the nationality of a person who is in custody.

While this provision is being used by the open-borders crowd as a way of limiting American sovereignty, I think it’s a plausible basis for state governments to require the determination of immigration status of all people arrested — hey, we have no choice, we’re bound by treaty!


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