Corey Stewart is an American attorney who is currently serving his fourth term as the at-large Chair of the Board of Supervisors of Prince William County, Virginia. Stewart won the Republican nomination on June 12 after defeating Delegate Nick Freitas and Christian minister E.W. Jackson, and will be facing Tim Kaine, who has been serving as the junior United States senator from Virginia since 2013, in the upcoming United States Senate election in November 2018.
The Collegiate Times and Virginia Tech Television had the opportunity to speak with Stewart about the upcoming election, immigration, gun violence and abortion issues in Virginia.
Q: You’re from Prince William County and you’ve led an initiative where 7,500 criminal illegal aliens were turned over for deportation. If you were elected U.S. senator, how will you take action in regards to immigration in terms of the commonwealth?
Corey Stewart: It’s never been so relevant as it is today after the murder of Mollie Tibbetts in Iowa. We put the policy in place which now has (deported) 8,200 illegal aliens. Let me be clear about who these folks are.
These are people who have committed crimes in my community. We don’t go looking out for illegal immigrants. What we do is this: If someone is arrested for a crime in Prince William County, for assault, something as serious as murder and so forth, (apart from) traffic violations, we check their immigration status.
We check everybody’s immigration status whether they’re white, black, Hispanic, Asian. We don’t care what language they speak, we don’t profile. We haven’t had a single case of profiling and because of this policy, we have apprehended and turned over to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) 8,200 criminal illegal alien immigrants and we have seen our violent crime rate go down significantly.
This is the 287(g) program. If we had been using this program across the country, Mollie Tibbetts would be alive today. Typically, when someone commits a serious crime, there is a lot of lead-up crimes. Somebody doesn’t just wake up one day and commit a murder. If somebody’s here illegally and they commit a crime, instead of releasing them back into the community, we turn them over to ICE and get them deported so they can’t commit another crime against an American citizen.
Q: In regards to immigration, you support President Donald Trump’s fight to fund a wall. Where do you think you’ll be pulling the means to fund and support such an infrastructure?
CS: At the end of the day, it’s $20 billion. I would support it by using (money) out of the defense budget. I think one of the most important things with national defense is national security and these are the national border.
The question really isn’t how to fund it. The question is whether or not to have a wall and that’s been the big debate. Immigration itself is good. I believe in immigration. My wife is an immigrant. But you have to know who is coming into the country. When there’s no border security, people come in across the border, unscreened. They could have criminal backgrounds and they could, God forbid, have a terrorist background.
It’s not just the people coming in illegally who may have criminal backgrounds, but they also carry drugs with them. Eighty percent of the fentanyl and other artificial and illegal opiates in this country are coming across the border from factories in Mexico. Almost 100 percent of the heroin, we have a heroin epidemic in this country, is coming from across the border from Mexico. If we want to deal with the opiates crisis, if we want to deal with criminal issues, we first at least have to end the anarchy at the border, end the chaos and provide for adequate border security.
Q: Speaking to a school campus that fell victim to a mass shooting in 2007, how would you explain your position in protecting the right to bear arms while also maintaining school campus safety?
CS: Let me just ask this question: What is the best way to protect you, your family, or anybody else? Is it with a sign that says this is a gun-free zone? Of course, a criminal doesn’t comply with a gun-free zone sign. In fact, that’s almost like an open invitation. It screams out that this a soft target. Look, you can’t protect our students, you can’t protect our higher education students like at Virginia Tech or kids from K–12 with signs. You have to have armed guards.
We’ve done this in Prince William County. There’s a school resource officer program. These are armed police officers. We have them now in every one of our middle schools and high schools in the county. Now, we are hiring retired police officers and it’s about half the cost to do that, and we’re going to soon have officers and retired police officers in every one of our elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. We need to do that at Virginia Tech as well, and you already have armed security here and you need it because the only way to stop a gunman who’s intent on murdering innocent people is to have armed protection.
Q: You’ve made it known that you’re pro-life. How will you rally Virginians behind defunding Planned Parenthood and placing restrictions on abortions?
CS: When there’s an abortion, I think there are two victims. It’s the unborn baby and the mother. I’ve known people who are close to me and I’ve spoken to a lot of women who years ago had abortions and they’ve regretted it ever since. The country’s waking up, especially with your generation. More and more young people are pro-life because it’s just a matter of seeing it that it’s an unborn baby, especially in the later terms of the pregnancy. That this is a life, that it’s a human being that we’re dealing with here.
One of the things we have to do is pass a capable bill that until 20 weeks and only in extraordinary circumstances, can there be an abortion. Sen. Kaine voted against that bill. He should’ve voted for it because right now in the United States, you can get an abortion leading up to the point of birth.
Q: Why do you think college students should go out and vote? What issues do you think are the most pressing to young adults that we should pay attention to?
CS: I believe in what Winston Churchill said: “If you’re not a liberal and you’re under the age of 30, you have no heart. If you’re still a liberal after the age of 30, you have no brain.” The reason is you are living in somewhat of a bubble here. It’s a great place to be. Your college years are your best years. You don’t have to pay for anything. Once you’re out, you’re going to realize that when you get that first paycheck, you’re going to see that the federal and state governments are taking a lot of your money. You need that money to raise a family, buy a house, etc. That’s OK as long as the government is spending that money wisely like providing for a national defense, providing health care for the poor, and building roads and schools. These are good and lawful functions of our government.
I’m a fiscal conservative and I’m also a very staunch hawk on protecting our constitutional rights especially our First Amendment, our freedom of speech is under threat right now. It’s up to your generation to stand up against political correctness. A lot of people have given your generation a lot of grief. I don’t believe that for a minute. I think that this is going to be a very tough generation that is going to help us restore our rights for this country.