Proposal would prevent South Portland from having to enforce federal immigration law

Posted April 13, 2017, at 5:35 p.m.
Last modified April 21, 2017, at 8:11 p.m.

South Portland is considering a proposal that seeks to clarify what the city’s responsibility is regarding immigration.

The amendment, proposed by District 3 councilman Eben Rose, would be applied to an anti-hate resolution passed by the council in February.

Rose is shying away from the term “sanctuary city,” and that language appears nowhere in the amended resolution. Rather, he says the amendment’s purpose is simple. A municipality, he says, should not have to take on the job of the federal government.

“Why would any city be expected by the federal government to use local taxpayer-funded resources to enforce federal immigration law? We’ve never enforced federal immigration law,” he says.

Rose says his amendment will reinforce the line between the kinds of issues a local police department deals with, such as crimes committed, and the kinds of issues that immigration officials deal with, such as simple passport status.

Some opponents fear such a move could jeopardize funding and put the city in conflict with the federal government.

The proposal is up for a public hearing on April 24.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.

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