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    Hey, Rhode Island Already Checks Immigration Status At Traffic Stops

    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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    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?

    You Rhode Island, Bush loving, redneck humping RACISTS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just joking my friends…

    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.

    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.

    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.

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