Lawmaker introduces Arizona-style immigration law

AUGUSTA — The Legislature will soon join more than a half-dozen states debating the merits of an anti-illegal immigration bill modeled after the controversial Arizona law.

Rep. Kathleen Chase, R-Wells, has submitted a bill request that would require immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and would allow local law enforcement agencies to ask whether the individuals are in the United States illegally. Chase said the bill was similar to the so-called "show-me-your-papers" Arizona law.

The bill has already generated a fierce reaction from human rights advocates who said such a law would lead to racial profiling and would focus local policing on a nonexistent problem. 

Chase, who said she entered the legislation at the request of a constituent, said the proposal was meant to ensure Maine's coast and border with Canada were protected.

"It's not intended to be harsh or put us in a police state," Chase said. "It's just to protect our shores, our borders, our country."

Chase said she wasn't sure whether the state had an illegal immigration problem.

"There are those who think (it's a problem)," she said. "But I'm not necessarily saying I'm one of them."

Shenna Bellows, the executive director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union, said the proposal targets a nonexistent issue that could jeopardize fragile relationships between law enforcement and Maine's immigrant population.

"Arizona-style racial profiling and 'show-me-your-papers' tactics are un-American and unconstitutional," Bellows said. "This proposal undermines public safety by diverting scarce security resources toward false threats and eroding trust between law enforcement and communities of color."

Chase's proposal makes Maine one of more than a half-dozen states currently taking up anti-illegal immigration measures like the Arizona law, which proponents and opponents agree is the broadest and strictest immigration reform in decades.

Nebraska, Indiana, Colorado and Texas unveiled similar bills this week. The Mississippi state Senate earlier this month approved its version of the law, while Florida has been considering one, as well.

In each case, the legislation has sparked a debate between those who believe undocumented immigrants are overtaxing public services and those who say such measures open the door for harassment based on skin color.

Critics of the Arizona law also say the legislation was shepherded by the private prison industry. A National Public Radio investigation showed that the Corrections Corp. of America, the largest private prison company in the country, lobbied extensively for the legislation. The company operates six prisons in Arizona, three of which house inmates for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The company has proposed to build a prison in Milo. It would be built for the Federal Bureau of Prisons and would house immigration inmates for ICE.

Joseph Ponte, Gov. Paul LePage's pick to head the Maine Department of Corrections, is currently the warden for the Nevada Southern Detention Center, which is run by the Corrections Corp. of America.

The company contributed $25,000 to LePage's campaign via a contribution to the Republican Governors Association.

Dan Demeritt, LePage's communications director, said the governor had not yet reviewed Chase's legislation and declined to comment.

It's unclear how the bill would work into existing Maine law, which appears to defer to federal law in regard to immigration policy.

Ben Chin, immigration organizer for the Maine People's Alliance, a liberal activist organization, said Chase's proposal, like those in other states, is "racist and unconstitutional."

"There is no question they will lead to more racial profiling, as law enforcement is forced to rely on racial stereotypes to determine who they ask for their papers," Chin said. "Maine needs to become more welcoming to immigrants and people of color, not less."

Chase said her intent was to make sure local law-enforcement agencies supported federal immigration agencies. 

"Personally, I think the federal government should probably do more (enforcement)," Chase said. "But let's put (the issue) out there for people to at least discuss it."

smistler@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Adam Lee's picture

Rep. Kathleen Chase's bill request

I find it odd that a State Representative would put in a bill request and then state;

Chase said she wasn't sure whether the state had an illegal immigration problem.
"There are those who think (it's a problem)," she said. "But I'm not necessarily saying I'm one of them."

I also question whether Governor LePage's French Canadian ancestors had to carry i.d. cards. I don't think my grandparents who immigrated from Russia had to.

 's picture

Liberal non-disclosure costs of illegal immigration

Not much was said in the open sequence of President Obama's State of the Union speech, relating to the mass invasion of illegal invaders. He described the crash of the Dream Act not being enacted, but nothing about the undercurrent of who pays for it, or immigration law allowing millions of more family members entering under the Chain Migration sponsorship. My attitude on illegal immigration doesn't really matter as a blogger, however my deep rooted investigation of the truth does? There are hundreds of authentic reports on the Internet with a reality view of Congressional spending that includes States. Politicians like Sen. Harry Reid are the main cause of this nation’s demise through catering to the occupation of foreign intruders and stifling the use of a mandatory E-Verify employee verification program. These reports and articles come from not only Liberal sources, but the commercial and government archives. The American people complain all the time about the porous border, the Dream Act, Amnesty, Sanctuary cities and the mass emergence that are straining our welfare system for the instant citizenship of babies of illegal parents. Sanctuary states like California are truly in a terrible way, because the Sacramento Lib-Democrats have done nothing to stop welfare fraud and financial support of illegal immigrants.

In the past two years, as unemployment remained near 10 percent, more than 1 million immigrants, of whom 35 percent were undocumented or illegal, have gotten work in this country. The story is that in the past two years, U.S. business owners have chosen to go for discount immigrant help, while the economy as a hole has shed millions of jobs for U.S. workers. California has a 26 billion dollar drain in this once flourishing state, caused by the malfunction of ICE and homeland Security to remove the infestation of illegal families. The Federation for American Immigration Reform estimates that the cost of illegal immigration to the states stands at about $113 billion, with nearly half that amount going to education costs. It’s easily explained as one illegal worker slips past the border patrol, rents a home and then the whole family comes over the border. Then there is the problem with entry via a tourist or student visa, but with no intentions to return to their nation of birth.

The main culprits in entitlement programs are education for infants through k-12, the birthright citizenship law of the 14th amendment, the free hospital emergency room that has become a visit for sore throats and common flue. These subsidizing public services are by no means the limit to pandering to the illegal immigration invasion. Another massive disbursement is the criminal sewer rats, which also have made their way from our Southern border and even European countries. Last week, the Los Angeles County supervisor , Michael Antonovich, , released new statistics showing welfare costs for the children of illegal immigrants cost the county $600 million last year, up from $570 million in 2009, as reported by Fox News. Going beyond the cost of food stamps and welfare-style benefits through the state program CalWORKS to include the expenses of public safety and health care, the total cost for illegal immigrants to Los Angeles taxpayers for 2010 was more than $1.6 billion, not including education costs. Last week, the California Department of Education released data demonstrating that for the first time Latinos now make up the majority of California's public school students, cracking the 50 percent barrier for the first time in state history, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Illegal aliens are reducing the retirement payments, pensions to our old folk. At http://www.rense.com/general79/seniors.htm According to the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 10 Number 1 spring 2005 (the report on Illegal Aliens and American medicine) http://www.jpands.org/vol10no1/cosman.pdf defines the issue as a monolithic non-reimbursement concern of hurting hospitals across the United States. Illegal aliens are costing more than the prior Iraqi war as seen here, http://www.rense.com/general80/mroe.htm There reports are just the tip of the iceberg. Removing illegal immigrants from America that we are feeding, housing and giving free hospital access, would go a very long way in saving bankruptcies in state treasuries and the federal failure of placing American taxpayers before nationals of other corrupt countries. Call your Senator or politician about illegal Immigration, and Amnesty at Washington switchboard to be connected at 202-224-3121.

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