Elected Official Involvement

Elected Official Involvement

Outside officials offer views on day-labor debate.

Public officials, including U.S. Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), Del. Tom Rust (R-86) and Loudoun County Supervisors, Stephen J. Snow (R-Dulles) and Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) have written letters of varying content regarding the proposal for a regulated site.

Grassley wrote a letter to Michael Chertoff, Secretary Department of Homeland Security, regarding the creation of "centers to assist illegal workers, or day laborers." He asked to be notified of specific actions "being taken to eliminate day labor street corners and parking lots, and specifically what interaction your department has had with the City of Herndon, Virginia."

Snow sent a letter to Carl Sivertsen, Planning Commission chairman, expressing his dissatisfaction with the vote by commissioners to move the application to the Town Council level before his office could provide additional, requested, information.

Delgaudio also sent a letter in July to town officials voicing his opposition to the creation of a site. Additional e-mails regarding his position were sent in August stating Sterling residents have experienced "petty abuse" by the Town of Herndon through the course of public hearings. "This involves making our citizens wait in lines in public in the heat and for hours for no reason whatsoever," he said in an e-mail newsletter.

Rust sent a letter dated Aug. 5 to Grassley, in response to his letter to Chertoff. In his letter Rust clarifies the legal restrictions placed on the Town of Herndon when dealing with enforcing immigration laws. As former mayor of Herndon, Rust "was told the Town of Herndon's police department is too small and would not qualify" for a "cross training" program offered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials that authorizes local law enforcement to "arrest and detain suspected illegal immigrants," according to his letter.

Rust has stayed out of the spotlight on this issue, as have other county, state and federal elected officials, because it is a land use decision that is the "prerogative of the local elected government."