Will Maine Imitate Arizona?

Please pass along to others in your group or area. Thanks. Note hearing date of Tuesday afternoon in Augusta.


From: Leslie Manning <leslieam55@gmail.com>
Date: May 9, 2011 8:06:46 AM EDT
Subject: Fwd: Will Maine Imitate Arizona?

This is truly a Legislative session to make us wonder – where is Maine headed?

LD 1496 – Will Maine imitate Arizona?

LD 1496, “An Act to Enforce Immigration Laws and Restrict Benefits to Legal Citizens” will have a public hearing on May 10th at 1:30 before the Judiciary Committee of the Legislature at Room 438 in Maine’s State House.

Following Arizona’s lead, LD 1496 tries to put state and local law enforcement offcers in the business of enforcing federal civil immigration laws – diverting their energy from going after criminals – and is an invitation to profiling of anyone who “looks” or “sounds” foreign with whom law enforcement has lawful contact (including traffic stops).

But LD 1496 goes even further – turning Maine into a “show me your papers” State.

LD 1496 would require anyone to whom law enforcement officers want to issue a summons, for example a speeding ticket, to provide evidence of her/his citizenship. Failure to do so would be a misdemeanor crime.

LD 1496 flies in the face of American values and of our immigrant tradition, and is also contrary to Maine’s economic interests. Maine has the nation’s oldest population and and needs more workers. In their 2010 “Making Maine Work” report, the Maine Development Foundation and the Maine State Chamber of Commerce concluded that Maine must import workers from out of state or around the world to stay economically competitive. Will immigrants and people of color come to the whitest state in the nation (tied with Vermont per the 2010 Census) to work if this law passes?

And imagine the U.S. citizen from out-of-state driving to Bar Harbor, stopped for speeding on Route 95. Because drivers’ licenses don’t indicate citizenship, if he doesn’t happen to have his passport or birth certificate with him, he’ll not only get a speeding ticket but also be cited for a criminal offense. He can also be detained for up to 2 hours while law enforcement tries to verify his citizenship. During the economic downturn, we need policies that will stimulate tourism in Maine, not new laws that will drive visitors away.

LD 1496 would also undermine public safety in Maine by diverting scarce security resources toward false threats, and erode trust between law enforcement and immigrants and people of color.

Finally, LD 1496 perpetuates the myth that undocumented immigrants are getting public benefits from the State. The bill states that applicants for state benefits must prove that they are legal residents – something that both Federal and State law have already required for years.

What can YOU do to stop LD1496 from becoming law?

* Come to the hearing at 1:30 on May 10th, State House Room 438 to show your opposition to the bill. If you are interested in testifying against the bill at the hearing, contact Brianna Twofoot at btwofoot@mclu.org or Beth Stickney at bstickney@ilapmaine.org.

* Call or email the members of the Judiciary Committee to ask them to vote against the bill so it gets killed in the Committee. You can find the names and contact information for the committee members here.

* E-mail your legislator. Thank you!

Shenna Bellows & Beth Stickney
Executive Directors

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Leslie Manning
207  592-2659

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