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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hey, Rhode Island Already Checks Immigration Status At Traffic Stops

Rhode Island is the new Arizona. No, actually, Arizona is the new Rhode Island.

Despite the failure of the Rhode Island legislature to pass an Arizona-like immigration bill, Rhode Island already has implemented the critical piece of the Arizona law, checking the immigration status of people stopped for traffic violations where there is a reasonable suspicion, and reporting all illegals to federal authorities for deportation.

As reported in The Boston Globe (h/t SoccerDad via TNR), R.I. troopers embrace firm immigration role:

From Woonsocket to Westerly, the troopers patrolling the nation’s smallest state are reporting all illegal immigrants they encounter, even on routine stops such as speeding, to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE.

“There are police chiefs throughout New England who hide from the issue . . . and I’m not hiding from it,’’ said Colonel Brendan P. Doherty, the towering commander of the Rhode Island State Police. “I would feel that I’m derelict in my duties to look the other way.’’

Rhode Island’s collaboration with federal immigration authorities is controversial; critics say the practice increases racial profiling and makes immigrants afraid to help police solve crimes.

This is too rich. Who would have thought that my home state, the state of Sheldon Whitehouse, is "racist" by the definition of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party?

I can't wait for Whitehouse to give a speech on the floor of the Senate associating the Rhode Island State Police with the "fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups." After all, if racists oppose illegal immigration, then everyone who opposes illegal immigration must be a racist.

But put racial politics aside.

We have an issue of federal preemption, don't we? Isn't that why Obama has sued the State of Arizona?

Sure, Rhode Island doesn't impose its own penalties, but doesn't Rhode Island's enforcement of federal immigration laws complicate and overburden federal enforcement?

Step up to the plate, Messrs. Obama and Holder, sue Rhode Island. Because we don't have enough problems.

Update: Ed Morrissey notes that Rhode Island didn't bother passing legislation, in 2008 the Governor signed an executive order mandating immigration checks on all new state workers and ordering State Police to assist federal immigration officials. So why hasn't Rhode Island been singled out by Obama? Morrissey writes:
In fact, Rhode Island does exactly what Arizona belatedly decided to do, which is to get serious about immigration control and enforcing the law. The only difference is that Rhode Island began doing it before Barack Obama needed a distraction from a hugely unpopular ObamaCare bill and thought a fight over immigration would bolster Democrats in the midterms.
Related Posts:
Feds Sue Arizona - Complaint Here
Gringo Mask - Yeah, This Should Work
Sheldon Whitehouse Can't Help Himself

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  1. Thanks for bringing this to light.

  2. Rhode Island consistently votes Democratic, so obviously it's okay for that state to do it.

  3. Bet Obama and crew didn't know about this! Oops!!

  4. The ACLU also recently lost a case related to this, and to make it sweeter the American side included FAIR: link.

    P.S. Here are five things you can do to oppose the DOJ suit.

  5. Congrats Professor, it appears that Rush regularly uses your blog in his show prep. He touched on your 1st 2 stories. Well deserved.

  6. Do I hear any calls for a nationwide boycott of the racist State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations?

  7. I know an illegal, he works for a friend of mine, doing odd jobs and such. he was framing houses before the housing market went bust. I asked Alphonso (the illegal) the other day if he would like to become an American citizen and he replied "no"! If an illegal refuses amnesty must he then be deported? just wondering......

  8. How silly. Of course it is different when RI assists the Federal Government in immigration enforcement than when Arizona does it. Democrats in RI do it with the best intentions while Arizonans do it because they are racist Republicans.

    Clear now?

  9. This is the rebuttal to Chris Matthews ridiculous predictions from this video.

    What is MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Thinking? http://mittromneycentral.com/2010/07/07/what-is-msnbcs-chris-matthew-thinking/

    Once you watch this video, you’ll be wondering the same thing. It’s baffling.

  10. "Makes immigrants afraid to help police solve crimes."

    What a load of crap. 85% of citizens in the U.S. are natural born, I'm not buying the argument that a 25% minority are key factors in crime solving.

    If our legal immigrants are so distrustful and lacking in confidence in our police forces that they think that if they help with a crime than the cops will magically deport them even though they are legal then that's their problem.

    Illegal immigration *is itself* a crime, by the way, so basically the argument is idiotically saying we shouldn't fight one crime because somehow it will make crime hard to fight. Give me a break. And how about all the violent crimes perpetuated by the leaders of smuggling rings against the illegals? Isn't that worth undermining via tougher laws?

    If legals want to help the police solve crimes than they need to back anti-illegal immigration laws (which despite the articles assertions, most naturalized citizens ((including those of Hispanic descent)) are actually *for*), and take a stand against those who are breaking and entering into our country.

  11. Being an active 35 year veteran peace officer in Massachusetts I can speak to this issue with at least a little experience. This was never a big deal or even an issue. Although INS enforcement was always considered a "joke", in some instances we assisted them and they assisted us in a lot of cases and arrests. I say they were considered a "joke" because the Federal Government declared they were "cracking down" at one point and proceeded to put TWO agents on duty and at the disposal for law enforcement officers ... for the entire New England area at one point. Regardless, we were never considered "racists". We dealt with the worst criminals... who happened to be illegal immigrants. Every time our Federal Government or State Government prohibits us from doing our jobs they are violating their own oaths of office. There's many of us in law enforcement that would like to slap the cuffs on a few of them for doing so. We're just trying to do our jobs, protect everybody, and stay alive in the process and these bastards are using us as cannon fodder and scapegoats. Normally when officers refuse to do their duties... even if they're scared, they lose their jobs and in some instances go to jail. How is it that our politicians are exempt from the same?

  12. Go Rhode Island... yeah yeah! I'm proud the state I grew up in is doing that. Although I wish the politicans there would stand up for Arizona as well.

    But then again I'm not surprised.

  13. Why does everyone think the RI and AZ laws are identical?

    If I'm reading this correctly then RI will inquire about immigration status after there is already a legitimate traffic stop, whereas AZ is willing to initiate that traffic stop based upon "reasonable suspicion" regarding immigration status.

    This seems pretty principled to me. I'm referring to RI's laws as well as the democratic backlash to only AZ's.

  14. Nathan, AZ added an amendment, there has to be an investigation into a crime or a traffic stop.

    Glad I found this blog, gave you a hat tip on mine.

  15. Nathan, now that you know about the amendment does that make AZ's law seem principled too? And does that make the blacklash by D's to only AZ perhaps a might bit hypocritical? Also, considering the amendment, do you think it's perhaps disingenous for dems to argue as if the amendment doesn't exist and implying that AZ is pulling people out of their cars and demanding papers?

  16. I don't feel this is a racists matter at all. I'm white, live in Arizona, riased by my mexican step-dad and loved him dearly. I wouldn't have a problem with having to show my papers/visa going into another country. I certainly wouldn't feel like I'm being discriminated against should I be asked for them. We Americans have to do just that and most of us don't think twice about it. What is the big deal? If you are here leagally there is no reason to worry about it. If you want to live here, work here and raise your family here then become a leagal U.S. citizen.


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  18. RI is checking immigration status by executive order which will be overturned by the next governor so you can stop getting all gushy over it. Arizona will be overturned in the courts and as soon as the november election is over there will be immigration reform with (GASP!) a path for citizienship to those here without papers. Choke on it