Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

“I’m very unhappy with the federal government with this delay,’’ McDonnell said on his monthly call-in show Tuesday on WTOP.

McDonnell sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano in August 2010 asking for the authority after spending months trying to reach an agreement with the federal government to train and deputize troopers to make legal status checks and refer individuals for deportation.

“We believe in the rule of law,’’ he said. “We have laws and they need to be enforced and I think every level of government has got a duty to enforce it. We think the law needs to be enforced at the border, in the states and then we can talk about how we assimiliate people into the culture.”

McDonnell, a former state attorney general, helped several localities, including Prince William County, enter into similar agreements. He also repeatedly pressed former governor Tim Kaine (D) to ask the Bush administration to enter into agreement with Virginia, but Kaine refused, believing that immigration should be tackled by the federal government.

The Obama administration has declined to issue the so-called 287g agreements to some states in the past.

Some states, including Arizona, and localities in Virginia, including Herndon and Prince William and Loudoun counties, have 287 (g) status that deputizes local law enforcement.

The Virginia State Police has 1,800 sworn agents. It's unclear how many would be deputized.