Trespassing on a Public Street
“Show me your papers.” Chilling words, long regarded as antithetical to a free society. But not in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, where the police have taken to charging undocumented aliens with criminal trespass. “Trespass,” in this case, means being on public property—an absurd stretch of a trespassing law.
Jorge Mora Ramirez was making a cell phone call from his car, which he’d stopped on the side of a road. That lawful activity shouldn’t have subjected Ramirez to a police encounter, but a local cop interrogated Ramirez and got him to admit that he didn’t enter the country through proper channels. The cop tried to get INS to take Ramirez into custody, but INS doesn’t have the resources to waste on undocumented immigrants who pose no threat to public safety. The clever cop then decided that Ramirez was trespassing, simply by entering the cop’s town.
"I wanted the federal government to understand that I was going to take some type of action," said New Ipswich Police Chief W. Garrett Chamberlain. "If I can discourage illegal aliens from coming to or passing through my community, then I think I've succeeded."
He’s succeeded in being a jerk, but not in enforcing the law fairly or reasonably. Chamberlain has arrested nine others in recent weeks for trespassing, simply because they’re in his town without papers showing they entered the country lawfully.
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