As if local law enforcement and municipalities in Maine don’t already have their hands full, Rep. Lawrence Lockman, R-Amherst, now wants them to enforce federal immigration regulations, too. His bill, L.D. 366, “An Act to Ensure Compliance with Federal Immigration Law by State and Local Government,” requires towns and government officials to report undocumented immigrants to federal immigration agencies or lose state funding and potentially face personal liability.

The bill takes decision-making authority away from local law enforcement agencies and will require them to use their limited budgets and staff to arrest, detain, and transport undocumented immigrants, rather than to focus on the activities that they believe will best ensure the safety of their communities. Local law enforcement is charged with keeping communities secure, and that goal is undermined if people are afraid to go to the police to report a crime or seek help. There is a federally funded and trained force to do this work — let them do it.

In addition, the bill will likely lead to unconstitutional racial profiling. Police officers facing potential personal liability may more aggressively check an individual’s immigration status based on the person’s appearance.

The bill says to immigrants that Mainers don’t want them here, because they must prove their immigration status whenever interacting with law enforcement or local municipalities. That is inconsistent with our history as a state that has welcomed folks “from away” for many decades. Maine’s population is the oldest in the country and its growth has been stagnant for decades — new Mainers will fill vacant jobs and help breathe life into the economy.

Maine’s interests are not served by this proposed legislation. Please encourage your representatives to vote down L.D. 366.

Kim Anderson True

Freeport

Susan Peck

Carrabassett Valley