Virginia, once Republican red, then purple in President Obama's elections, is turning Democratic blue under new Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Attorney General Mark R. Herring, who, with the snap of his fingers Tuesday, declared that the children of illegal immigrants can qualify for in-state tuition.

His decision follows another opposed by Republicans in Richmond that gay marriage isn't banned under current law.

Herring's action was heralded by McAuliffe, who is trying hard to bring Obamacare to the Old Dominion.

“I fully support the attorney general’s opinion that those students who have been approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals qualify for in-state tuition, and I am committed to ensuring that this becomes a reality during my administration,” said the governor in a statement.

“Virginia needs to be open and welcoming to all who call our Commonwealth home,” he added.

The children are referred to as "DREAMers," after national legislative proposals to allow law-abiding children of illegal immigrants to get in-state tuition, called "Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors."

The moves are startling and fast in a state that moves at a slower pace, especially in the capital of Richmond.

Republicans were not happy, especially since the GOP-controlled House rejected the DREAM legislation. “We are deeply concerned by the attorney general's actions today and what appears to be a continued willingness to ignore and circumvent the duly-adopted laws of the Commonwealth,” said House Speaker William J. Howell in a statement joined by other GOP leaders.

“For the second time since taking office just a few short months ago, Mark Herring has demonstrated blatant disregard for his oath of office,” they said, adding, “What is clear and not subject to debate, however, is that these issues should be considered, discussed and eventually resolved through the legislative and democratic processes, not by the unilateral actions of one individual.”

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at