Town Uses Tresspass Law to Fight Illegal Immigrants

DrunkPotHead

Diabloii.Net Member
Town Uses Tresspass Law to Fight Illegal Immigrants

JAFFREY, N.H., July 12 - One day in April, Jorge Mora Ramírez stopped his car on the side of a road in the small southern New Hampshire town of New Ipswich and was making a cellphone call when a police officer approached him.

The officer questioned Mr. Ramírez, a 21-year-old Mexican who acknowledged that he was in the country illegally, and the New Ipswich police tried to get federal immigration authorities to arrest him. But when immigration officials demurred, not considering him a priority given scarce enforcement resources, the police acted on their own. They took the highly unusual step of charging Mr. Ramírez with criminal trespassing, and held him overnight.

"I wanted the federal government to understand that I was going to take some type of action," said the New Ipswich police chief, W. Garrett Chamberlain. "If I can discourage illegal aliens from coming to or passing through my community, then I think I've succeeded."

At a minimum, Chief Chamberlain has succeeded in creating controversy, as well as interest in his idea. Not far away, the police chief in Hudson, N.H., has charged 10 illegal immigrants with criminal trespassing in recent weeks. Other police departments, in states that include California, Florida and Georgia, have called Chief Chamberlain, and immigration experts say that if the New Hampshire charges are upheld, some local law enforcement officials around the country will most likely copy the approach.

The case against Mr. Ramírez, who lives in Waltham, Mass., and was working as a construction worker here in Jaffrey when he was charged, is also being watched by civil liberties advocates and the Mexican government, which is paying for his lawyers. The matter went to court on Tuesday in Jaffrey/Peterborough District Court, where the defense asked Judge L. Phillips Runyon III to dismiss the case, arguing that immigration enforcement was the federal government's job and that the New Hampshire criminal trespassing statute was intended to apply to those intruding on private property, not to illegal immigrants.

"What the state is attempting to do here is to step into the federal government's shoes and determine whether a person is licensed or able to remain in the United States," said one defense lawyer, Randall Drew.

The prosecutor, Nicole Morse, argued that local police agencies had a right to cite illegal immigrants.

"Just as with a sex offender," Ms. Morse said, "the hope is that they will go and register with the state. And if they don't, then they are violating the law.

"Indeed, the state's interest in this case is security. Being able to identify people who are in our community is essential to the police being able to maintain and keep the peace."

Judge Runyon deferred his decision on whether to dismiss the case until he could hear similar motions in the cases from Hudson. But his questions to both sides underscored the combustible and sensitive nature of immigration enforcement in a post-9/11 world.

On the one hand, he said to defense lawyers, "in this day and age when everyone is so worried about having terrorists in our midst, if a local law enforcement person is dealing with somebody that can't show some basis for their lawfulness of being here," and "they can't get any kind of response that seems to answer their questions from Immigration, are they just hamstrung?"

On the other hand, he told the prosecutor, some immigrants might "have a driver's license from Germany or France but don't have any other papers" with them. "Are you suggesting that those people are going to be charged criminally," he said, "because the police can't figure out that they're supposed to be where they are?"

Noting that if Mr. Ramírez was found guilty, he would be sentenced to nothing more than a $1,000 fine, not jail time, the judge also asked the prosecutor, "How is national security or even local security enhanced by giving someone a citation?"

In a state that is 96 percent non-Hispanic white but that has been seeing a rise in its Hispanic population, Chief Chamberlain's idea was born a year ago when he encountered a van with nine illegal immigrants from Ecuador. The federal Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he says, was not interested in arresting them. He decided that in the future he would use the state's criminal trespassing law, which says that a person is guilty "if, knowing he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he enters or remains in any place."

Even some critics of the New Hampshire citations, like Susan J. Cohen, a Boston immigration lawyer, said the law's broad language made it seem applicable to immigration.

Ms. Cohen said most states' criminal trespassing laws referred specifically to private property and could not be easily applied to immigration. But Kris W. Kobach, a law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, who was counsel to John Ashcroft when Mr. Ashcroft was attorney general, said he believed that New Hampshire's wording was not unusual, and added that the charges were appropriate because the government "has always been careful to invite and encourage local assistance with immigration arrests."

Not every police department would take such a tack. In Nashua, N.H., which has a growing Hispanic population, the deputy police chief, Don Conley, said that "I don't think it's in the true spirit of New Hampshire's criminal trespass law."

Opponents like Arnie Alpert, New Hampshire coordinator of the American Friends Service Committee, say such citations will discourage immigrants, legal and illegal alike, from cooperating with police officers. And Porfirio Thierry Muñoz-Ledo, the Mexican consul general in Boston, who attended Tuesday's hearing, said, "The concern is that we are dealing in a state court with matters that belong to a federal level."

Judge Runyon seemed somewhat concerned about that as well.

"Am I going to determine whether someone is here legally or not?" he asked the prosecutor. "Isn't that what the federal immigration system is for? Is it for part-time district court judges like me who know nothing about immigration and arguably nothing much about anything else either?"

Katie Zezima contributed reporting from Boston for this article.
This is from NYT editorial i believe but you need a subscription to view it. I got this in an e-mail.

Anyways, your thoughts on this? Agree? Disagree?
 
DrunkPotHead said:
That's in Idaho. The story i posted is from New Hampshire.
Ahh, okay, there are no crimes in New Hampshire worth worrying about.

http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/nhcrime.htm

Year 2000
Forcible Rape: [size=-1]522
Aggravated Assault: [/size][size=-1]1,170

But you're right, let's harass immigrants--they're clearly more important than the real criminals.

New Hampshire’s 42.2 reported Forced Rapes per 100,000 people, ranked the state 9th highest [in 2000].
[/size][size=-1]
[/size]
 

Technetium

Diabloii.Net Member
This is another example of our crappy federal government screwing over state's rights.

The initial wrong that was committed, of course, was that the defendent was in the country illegally. The second wrong was the immigration authorities refused to take charge of a task they are supposedly in existence to handle.

Is there any reason New Hampshire cannot just enact their own immigration law that would mirror the requirements set by federal laws, but give police officers the right to detain illegal immigrants?
 

Technetium

Diabloii.Net Member
DrunkCajun said:
Ahh, okay, there are no crimes in New Hampshire worth worrying about.

http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/nhcrime.htm

Year 2000
Forcible Rape: [size=-1]522
Aggravated Assault: [/size][size=-1]1,170

But you're right, let's harass immigrants--they're clearly more important than the real criminals.

[/size][size=-1]
[/size]
That's a strawman argument. For police to handle those crimes does not necessitate that they cannot also handle illegal immigrants.
 
Technetium said:
That's a strawman argument. For police to handle those crimes does not necessitate that they cannot also handle illegal immigrants.
Sure, but if they're diverting resources because they're worried about some dark-skinned folks in their town rather than putting a few extra bodies on the local task forces to deal with rape, it most certainly is an issue. In my opinion, catching rapists is far more important than harassing dark-skinned folks because the white people in NH are so afraid of them overrunning their town.
 

Anakha1

Banned
DC, don't pull that bull**** "don't you have a murderer to catch" excuse out here. You know better and I think every jerkwad speeder has used that line. Police deal with crimes as they come. Prioritizing doesn't mean they have to forget about the lesser crimes.
 
Anakha1 said:
DC, don't pull that bull**** "don't you have a murderer to catch" excuse out here. You know better and I think every jerkwad speeder has used that line. Police deal with crimes as they come. Prioritizing doesn't mean they have to forget about the lesser crimes.
When a police officer is so bored that he starts trying to find ways to creatively apply state laws to deal with federal matters because he's disturbed by the presence of a few dark-skinned folks in a state ranked in the top ten in the nation for rapes, I think I have every right to raise my eyebrows.
 

giantpinkbunnyhead

Diabloii.Net Member
DrunkCajun said:
When a police officer is so bored that he starts trying to find ways to creatively apply state laws to deal with federal matters because he's disturbed by the presence of a few dark-skinned folks in a state ranked in the top ten in the nation for rapes, I think I have every right to raise my eyebrows.
I don't think the officer was bored when he applied the trespassing law; he was frustrated that the feds wouldn't do anything about it.

Additionally, as I don't know the size of this officer's town, this may be moot. But can you expect a police force from a podunk town somewhere to be fully expected to help solve big city crimes on the other side of the state? If Los Angeles has a murder problem, are the police force in the small Crescent City, CA (600 miles north) being remiss by not donating their manpower to help? I know NH isn't that big but the point still exists.

Finally, I do believe that too many cooks spoil a soup, and too many police can spoil an investigation. It's that whole diminishing marginal utility thing.

And if police stopped enforcing these small crimes because there are more important fish to fry, we'd have one less deterrent against speeding, petty theft, fist fights, trespassing, being drunk in public, etc.. etc..
 

myleftfoot

Diabloii.Net Member
giantpinkbunnyhead said:
we'd have one less deterrent against speeding, petty theft, fist fights, trespassing, being drunk in public, etc.. etc..
so now all illegal immigrants perform these crimes ;)

The reason immigration probably didn't do anything is because they more than likely don't care. They generally don't care unless you owe someone moeny or you leave the country (then you can come back in).

EDIT: if they did care then there would not be as many Mexicans/Irish in the country. It's not particularly hard to walk around illegal, get a job and live a decent life.
 
So far we have two police chiefs in NH busying themselves with this. I wouldn't exactly compare it to some officer sitting on a dusty highway waiting for the one car a day to blow past speeding.

Hey, you know, by their interpretation of the law, they could go after all sorts of people. Pesky tourists come to mind! Stop anyone looking asian with a camera and demand to see their travel visa. If they don't have it on them, haul em off to jail for trespassing!

Call me when they start picking up people speaking with British accents or speaking French on the streets. Until then, I don't see this as anything more than a 96% white state having panic attacks about a few dark-skinned people moving into town and looking for ways to harass them.
 

Garbad_the_Weak

Diabloii.Net Member
teh law:
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/lxii/635/635-2.htm

EDIT:

"I'm just saying: 'Wait a minute. We're on heightened alert and it's post-9/11, and I'm going to let an illegal immigrant who I don't know from Adam just walk away?' " Chamberlain said. "That's ridiculous. If I find you are in my country illegally, I'm not going to worry about political correctness. I will detain you."

He and Gendron reserve much of their annoyance for the federal government, which they say spends billions of dollars on homeland security even as the southern and northern borders remain sieves. (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, estimates that 8 million illegal immigrants live in the United States; about 465,000 are fleeing deportation orders.) "I just find it hard to believe that we spend billions of dollars on high-tech security stuff and then we let 8 million people come across our border illegally and say nothing," Gendron said. "My son is with the Army in Iraq, and he says the biggest challenge is to tighten the border. Why is it any different here?"

Chamberlain was nudged into action in the summer of 2004, when he stopped a van for speeding along New Ipswich's short main drag. He found 10 Ecuadoran men inside, all of whom readily admitted they lacked legal papers. Chamberlain placed a phone call to ICE.

"The feds were, like, 'Whatever. Just give them a ticket and let them go,' " Chamberlain said. "I was shocked."

After that, the chief sat down with a local prosecutor and tried to find a legal foothold. They settled on New Hampshire's trespassing law, which states: "A person is guilty of criminal trespass if, knowing he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he enters or remains in any place." They planned to demand that illegal immigrants report to an immigration office within 72 hours of pleading guilty.

New Ipswich officials checked with the state attorney general, who gave a modified thumbs up. "It's a novel interpretation," Assistant Attorney General Robert Carey said. But he added: "We weren't aware of any New Hampshire case that would preclude that prosecution."

The two police chiefs insist that racial and ethnic considerations played no role in their calculations. (New Ipswich is 98.6 percent white.) They note that their officers made the arrests during routine traffic stops at night.

"One has to recognize there is also an old tradition in New Hampshire of 'warning' people who were not born there out of towns. That sensibility still survives.," said Prof. David H. Watters, director of the Center for New England Culture at the University of New Hampshire.

Interviews with a dozen residents of the two towns found nothing but support for the chief. "The poor chief is just doing his job," Diane Slyman said as she sipped coffee in a New Ipswich bagel shop. "We want to live in a small town where we feel safe."

Gendron has heard much the same at his end. "I've got pretty close to 80 e-mails, and only one was negative," he said. "And that person was concerned that if illegal immigration slowed down, the price of lettuce might go up."

Garbad
 
Interviews with a dozen residents of the two towns found nothing but support for the chief. "The poor chief is just doing his job," Diane Slyman said as she sipped coffee in a New Ipswich bagel shop. "We want to live in a small town where we feel safe."
OH EMM GEE WE FEEL THREATENED BY TEH DARK-SKINNED PEEPLES!!11ONE!!!
 

Technetium

Diabloii.Net Member
DrunkCajun said:
Sure, but if they're diverting resources because they're worried about some dark-skinned folks in their town rather than putting a few extra bodies on the local task forces to deal with rape, it most certainly is an issue. In my opinion, catching rapists is far more important than harassing dark-skinned folks because the white people in NH are so afraid of them overrunning their town.
And here we have the other side of the coin! That's a classic liberal trick. When you have no argument at all, just claim racism. Evidence? Not important!

Yeah, I'm gonna have to say that you have made two pretty big assumptions:

1. That arresting this guy in any way diminished their ability to fight other crimes in the state. Yes, that is what you are intimating, and have no evidence at all for.

2. That this was motivated by race. Again, PPOSTFU.
 

myleftfoot

Diabloii.Net Member
Technetium said:
And here we have the other side of the coin! That's a classic liberal trick. When you have no argument at all, just claim racism. Evidence? Not important!

Yeah, I'm gonna have to say that you have made two pretty big assumptions:

1. That arresting this guy in any way diminished their ability to fight other crimes in the state. Yes, that is what you are intimating, and have no evidence at all for.

2. That this was motivated by race. Again, PPOSTFU.
This can never go thru or never happen. The American Economy would fall to ****. Tourists would be arrested for not looking the part if they didn't have their passports. A white town has a problem with a Mexican guy coming thru their town? Big deal.
 

Technetium

Diabloii.Net Member
myleftfoot said:
This can never go thru or never happen. The American Economy would fall to ****. Tourists would be arrested for not looking the part if they didn't have their passports. A white town has a problem with a Mexican guy coming thru their town? Big deal.
I think you quoted the wrong person, as that has nothing to do with my post.
 
Technetium said:
And here we have the other side of the coin! That's a classic liberal trick. When you have no argument at all, just claim racism. Evidence? Not important!

Yeah, I'm gonna have to say that you have made two pretty big assumptions:

1. That arresting this guy in any way diminished their ability to fight other crimes in the state. Yes, that is what you are intimating, and have no evidence at all for.

2. That this was motivated by race. Again, PPOSTFU.
Yeah, you're right, I'm making ridiculous claims. A little old lady in a town that's 98.6% white defends this by saying she's afraid her town will no longer be safe if the cops don't do this to all the ee-leegal immigrants (who just happen to be latin--strange coincidence, dontcha think?), but it's nothing to do with racism. She's concerned about her safety purely because an illegal immigrant being in her state somehow endangers her life. Right?
 

Technetium

Diabloii.Net Member
DrunkCajun said:
Yeah, you're right, I'm making ridiculous claims. A little old lady in a town that's 98.6% white defends this by saying she's afraid her town will no longer be safe if the cops don't do this to all the ee-leegal immigrants (who just happen to be latin--strange coincidence, dontcha think?), but it's nothing to do with racism. She's concerned about her safety purely because an illegal immigrant being in her state somehow endangers her life. Right?
Without evidence ot the contrary, yes, exactly.
 
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