Governor Mitt Romney is intent on using state police to round up illegal immigrants. This initiative as the state’s Attorney General scuffed at the idea of deploying state law enforcement resources to capture illegals. But since the AG’s remarks, the Boston Globe ran a story that many undocumented workers are engaged on state – financed construction projects.
Last year, Romney’s Lt Governor opposed a law to give illegal immigrant children in-state tuition at state colleges, saying, Marie Antoinette-fashion, that they should apply to private schools.
Per the Boston Globe:
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. 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. 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.
Police across the state have put great energy into convincing immigrants that they should report crimes without fear of drawing scrutiny from immigration authorities, said [an ACLU spokesperson] and others, and empowering state troopers to enforce immigration law against undocumented immigrants who have broken no state laws would undermine that trust. Domestic violence advocates said they also feared that the agreement would make immigrant victims afraid to report those crimes.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, part of the Department of Homeland Security, has received many calls from states and counties seeking information on the agreements and is working with a dozen government entities to craft memoranda of understandings tailored to their needs, said Mike Gilhooly, communications director for the department’s New England division.
Most of those already in place are narrow in scope: in Florida, 63 officers from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, who are already focused on domestic security, have the authority to act when they encounter undocumented immigrants. In Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties in California, Mecklenberg County in North Carolina, and in Arizona, jail officers have been trained to locate undocumented immigrants among those being held and to begin deportation proceedings with federal authorities.
Alabama’s agreement, which is similar to what Romney is seeking, authorizes 44 state troopers to enforce immigration law.