It's the state police, boyo, better run to Providence
Alright, show us your green cards, or
it's off to Dublin with ya.
Troopers would arrest immigrants
Romney seeks federal OK to expand powers
By Yvonne Abraham and Scott Helman, Globe Staff | June 21, 2006
Governor Mitt Romney is seeking an agreement with federal authorities that would allow Massachusetts state troopers to arrest undocumented immigrants for being in the country illegally.
Currently, State Police have no authority to arrest people on the basis of their immigration status alone, said Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom. If they arrest immigrants for violations of state law, troopers can call a centralized US Immigration and Customs Enforcement center in Vermont to check on their status, and can detain immigrants if federal officials request it.
Under the agreement Romney is seeking, troopers would have greatly expanded powers: They could check an immigrant's legal status during routine patrols such as during a traffic stop and decide whether the immigrant should be held.
``It's one more thing you can do to make this a less attractive place for illegal aliens to come to work," Romney said.
The governor has instructed his legal counsel to contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement to begin the process. The powers, Romney said, would give the State Police a way of ``finding and detaining illegal aliens in the ordinary course of business."
Federal immigration authorities would provide the troopers with 4 1/2 weeks of training in immigration laws and procedures, civil rights, and avoiding racial profiling.
If the proposal is approved, Massachusetts would join a handful of states and localities that have entered into such pacts since they were first authorized in 1996. That list includes Florida, Alabama, and a few counties in California and North Carolina, where a limited number of officers have been trained to enforce immigration laws.
The agreement would not require legislative approval, said Fehrnstrom.
The arrangement is likely to be controversial in Massachusetts, where Cambridge, for example, has passed a resolution declaring itself a sanctuary for immigrants, and moves are underway in other cities to follow that example.
Immigrant and civil rights advocates derided the plan yesterday, saying that turning troopers into immigration enforcement agents would lead to racial profiling and have a chilling effect on immigrants who might otherwise report crimes.
Romney better realize that we're not just talking about Mexicans here. I would bet that between Portuguese and Irish nationals, a lot of the "illegal problem" in Massachusetts comes from the EU and not Mexico. Let's see the state police descend on a construction site, oh, by South Station would be nice and round up illegals. Or hit one of the numerous Portuguese restaurants in the south of the state.
If you aren't rounding up EU citizens in this, you aren't doing your job.
posted by Steve @ 12:29:00 PM