LePage rescinds Baldacci's order forbidding state officials to ask about immigrant status

AUGUSTA — In one of his first official acts, Gov. Paul LePage on Thursday issued an order allowing officials in state agencies to question people with whom they come into contact about their immigration status, infuriating civil libertarians.

The Republican's executive order Thursday rescinds one that had been issued by his Democratic predecessor, John Baldacci, that barred state officials from asking about immigration status. It says the previous order "may have created the impression that Maine was a so-called 'sanctuary state' for those who are in the United States without lawful status."

LePage spokesman Dan Demeritt said the governor wanted to send a message to those who have heard it's easy for illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses and social services in Maine.

LePage, asked why he issued the order, said, "We have got many fiscal issues, and I'm intending to take care of Mainers first."

The order also requires state employees and officials to cooperate with federal officials "on all matters pertinent to immigration."

When Baldacci first issued his order in 2004, it covered officials, including law enforcement, from inquiring about the immigration status of anyone applying for government services. Baldacci amended it the following year so it no longer covered law enforcement, after federal border patrol agents and others expressed concern that it would keep them from cooperating in federal investigations.

The Maine Civil Liberties Union's Shenna Bellows said she fears LePage's order is "the first step in an anti-freedom agenda" and an opening for profiling.

"We all have a responsibility to ensure that the most vulnerable among us don't freeze to death, don't starve to death or die of treatable disease this winter," said Bellows. "It doesn't matter where you were born. We're all human and we're responsible for one another."

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John Cote's picture

a govenor with balls

i would like to applaud mr lepage for having the balls to start off the 1st day off on the right foot and i do believe we have voted in the right man i can't wait til he signs in the 5 year limit on tanf which is soon i hope
again i applaud you mr lepage

 's picture

Next up, Jim Crowe laws

Next up, Jim Crowe laws

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Now if we can get them to

Now if we can get them to start racial profiling at the Airports, we can get this country back in shape.

 's picture

ah, but for the famous

ah, but for the famous slippery slope. Who do you think is going to be asked?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Anyone who looks funny. In

Anyone who looks funny. In America we look for weapons; in Israel they look for terrorists. We should learn from them.

Steve Bronish's picture

Bout time

When I got laid off I went to get assistance amd didnt qualify....after working for 30 years I didnt qualify... On the other hand if you look at the application. it clearly states that if your an alien from another country you didnt have to fill out the rest of the application....I sat in line with...12 samolian women....all 12 were getting food stamps, heap section 8 housing AND maine care. and here I was born, lived and worked and paid taxes in this country my whole life and I dont qualify for anything.. go figure....

Shane Morin's picture

What's a "samolian" woman?

What's a "samolian" woman?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

A mate for a "samolian", man?

A mate for a "samolian", man?

Martha Burnell's picture

Ms Bellows, its really quite

Ms Bellows, its really quite simple.. If they don't want those things to happen to them, then they should have come here legally fromt the start. If they didn't they need to go back where they came from and let their government provide for them. We are NOT responsible for their welfare, they are.


if you are here legal congrats

Ed Enos's picture

Outstanding Mr. Lepage! Next

Outstanding Mr. Lepage! Next up, how about a residency requirement tomorrow?! Did you hear that sound? That was a whole lot of people moving back to Mass!


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