Meeting same resistance as unwavering Maricopa County law enforcers
The governor of the nation’s smallest state is reacting to the detrimental impact of illegal immigration.
Gov. Don Carcieri says illegal immigration has become such a problem—and cost the state so much money at a time that it is grappling with a $568 million budget deficit—that last month he signed an executive order directing state police to crack down on illegal immigrants.
Now, as in Arizona, liberal church leaders have urged him to rescind the order, saying it creates a climate of fear among minorities. Local police departments are divided, with some saying they’ll enforce the order.
Democratic Rep. Jon Brien backs Carcieri’s order and has submitted legislation to take it a step further by requiring every private employer in the state to use the same federal database to check the immigration status of their new hires.
“The workforce in the state of Rhode Island should be a legal one,” Brien said. “It puts everyone in the state on a level playing field.”
The state’s agreement to enforce immigration law is still being worked out, but State Police Maj. Steven O’Donnell said once in place, it will allow officers to inquire more deeply about the immigration status of anyone they contact if there’s a reason to think they are here illegally. That could be people who are arrested, motorists stopped by police or witnesses who report crimes.
“It’s very difficult to think about what drove the governor to do this. I’m amazed,” said Jaime Aguayo, a member of the governor’s Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs, which the governor did not consult before signing the order. Some members have threatened to quit in protest.
Interesting that a tiny eastern seaboard state would have instituted a Hispanic Affairs advisory commission. It’s doubtful there are similar commissions for other ethnic groups–nor should there be. Those of any ethnicity who come to this country through the legal channels provided are welcome to become Americans–not part of a hyphenated group, with the word “American” dangling on as an afterthought.
In 2002, Carcieri won the Republican primary over the endorsed candidate and went on to defeat the Democrat incumbent 55% to 45% in the general election. He won again in 2006.
We wish this courageous leader a continued, bright political future.