A new Massachusetts policy makes it clear that state troopers should not enforce federal immigration laws, but troopers may ask a person’s immigration status during traffic stops and other matters if it is relevant to a criminal investigation, reports the Boston Globe. The policy places restrictions on troopers’ dealings with federal immigration authorities – a source of contention for Governor Deval Patrick’s administration in recent months. Just after taking office In January, Patrick rescinded predecessor Mitt Romney’s decision to let State Police officers arrest illegal immigrants. “A person who happens to be here illegally who is a law-abiding person should not have to worry that the State Police are going to be trying to figure out their status and turning them over to immigration,” said Kurt Schwartz, state undersecretary of law enforcement and fire services.
Advocates for immigrants remain concerned that State Police collaboration with federal immigration authorities could lead to racial profiling or deter illegal immigrants from helping police solve crimes. Ira Mehlman of the Washington, D.C.-based Federation for American Immigration Reform, said State Police should turn over illegal immigrants to federal authorities whenever they encounter them. “They’re all being paid by the same people, ultimately – the taxpayers – and they ought to be helping each other out,” he said.