Thursday, July 08, 2010

Rhode Island already enforces stricter law than Arizona

7/6/10, "Rhode Island troopers embrace immigration role," Boston Globe, M. Sacchetti
  • Scituate, R.I.: "Rhode Island State Trooper Nuno Vasconcelos was patrolling Interstate 95 a few months ago when he came upon a two-car accident in heavy traffic. The trooper pulled up, stepped out of his cruiser, and asked one of the drivers for his license.The man said he did not have a license, and under questioning, confessed that he was here illegally from Guatemala.

If the accident had happened 15 miles north in Massachusetts, the man would probably have been arrested for driving without a license, which carries a fine of up to $1,000 and 10 days in jail, then released pending an appearance in district court.

  • But in Rhode Island, illegal immigrants face a far greater penalty: deportation.

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,

“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.’’...

  • Separate ride-alongs with two troopers, Vasconcelos and Al Ruggiero, recently showed that troopers often have little time to react before deciding to pull someone over.
  • Cars weave in and out of traffic or zip by at high speeds.

Both troopers said they run into illegal immigrants occasionally, perhaps once every few weeks or months.

Vasconcelos, the son of Cape Verdean immigrants who was born in Mozambique, said troopers feel compassion for undocumented immigrants who are just here to work; but, he said, troopers must enforce the law.

  • “To be honest, being an immigrant myself, I do feel, in a way, bad, but the law’s the law,’’ he said. “My job is to enforce the law. You try not to let personal emotions get involved.’’" via Hot Air


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