Copyright 2004 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.

Jan 28, 2004


Those arrested over the weekend have been charged with being in the United States illegally.
DAVID HENCH Staff Writer

Federal border control and immigration agents swept through Portland during the weekend, arresting 10 people on charges of being in the United States illegally.

Officials with the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection said such targeted enforcement will happen more often, since roughly 1,000 agents are being reassigned from the southern border of the United States to the country's northern border, including Maine.

Some in the community are wary of the increased enforcement. Mark Swann, Executive Director of the Preble Street Resource Center, said federal agents will not be welcome to enter the agency's day room at will to question clients, as they did Saturday.

"I do not want people who are homeless who are of Latino descent or any foreign descent to feel they cannot come to Preble Street or a homeless shelter because they are afraid they will get picked out of a crowd," Swann said. "These organizations have to be safe places for people."

Federal agents made no arrests at Preble Street.

Agents did check out the Portland International Jetport, bus stations and the train station in search of people who are in the country illegally. Agents also checked Latino, African and Asian restaurants and markets, local officials said.

The rationale behind checking the jetport and bus stations is that people who sneak into this country illegally often use mass transit, said Monte J. Bennett, assistant chief patrol agent for the bureau's Houlton sector. The border patrol has responsibility for enforcement between the ports of entry, such as the long wooded border with Canada, and corridors of egress such as Interstate 95 and the Presque Isle airport, Bennett said.

Bennett said the bureau's Maine work force recently doubled in size, though he would not provide specific numbers. Two years ago, 89 border patrol inspectors worked in Maine.

Agents from the Bangor and Portland offices of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement also participated in the weekend sweep, Bennett said. Both bureaus are part of the Department of Homeland Security.

Swann said armed agents walked into Preble Street's drop-in center Saturday afternoon and demanded identification from several people.

"In the future, we would have a supervisor be much more engaged with those officers and asking for a warrant before they wandered through our organization," he said.

Bennett said that a place of public accommodation, such as a drop-in center, is a public facility and agents are permitted to enter. They are not automatically entitled to enter a private dwelling without a warrant, he said.

Bennett said the border patrol has conducted similar operations in Waterville, Augusta and other communities.

Federal agents conducted a similar operation in Portland about two years ago, said officials with the Cumberland County Jail. This weekend's sweep had been planned for at least two weeks, county officials said.

The charges against those arrested include entering the country illegally or having expired visas, Bennett said. Those detained can either return to their country voluntarily or face formal deportation, Bennett said.

Jan 30, 2004


Federal immigration officials say additional staff along the northern U.S. border will allow an increase in searches for illegal aliens.
DAVID HENCH Staff Writer

Federal agents' recent search for illegal immigrants in Portland has frightened some into hiding and led to the cancellation of a health fair for Latinos.

The sweep last weekend by border patrol and immigration agents led to at least 10 people being detained on charges of being in this country without permission, a misdemeanor that typically requires deportation. Although the number is small compared to sweeps in previous years, many activists and people in Portland's immigrant communities are worried.

John Connors, a longtime activist on Latino issues and chairman of Latino Health and Community Service, said his agency canceled a health clinic scheduled for Feb. 14 at Reiche School for fear federal agents might target the event in the search for undocumented workers.

"I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure nothing I do causes anyone to get deported, unless they're involved in criminal activity, in which case I'd be glad to put the handcuffs on them," Connors said.

The clinic was intended to offer screening and information about sexually transmitted diseases, hepatitis and HIV, which is a growing problem among Maine's Latino community, he said.

Even if the event was held, many people might have stayed away.

"The actions of the border patrol in greater Portland in the past week have created a lot of fear in the community," Connors said. "People are afraid to go to work. They're afraid to send their kids to school."

Owners of businesses that cater to immigrant communities say people are staying away, worried they might be confronted by federal agents.

Business is slower since the border patrol crackdown, said Luis Rodriguez, who runs Tu Casa, a Central American restaurant on Washington Avenue. "People are nervous," he said. "They wonder how long it is going to last. They want to be able to go out and go back to work."

Rodriguez said immigrants, whether they have papers or not, help the economy by working and spending money at local businesses.

Monte J. Bennett, assistant chief border patrol agent in Houlton, says his agency's mission is to locate and detain people who enter the country illegally. He said his agents' mission was to check transportation hubs, like bus and train stations and the airport.

Agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement also participated and may have been involved in the decision to check ethnic restaurants and markets and a drop-in center for homeless people, officials said.

Bennett said agents would not target something like a health fair, for humanitarian reasons.

The latest increase in enforcement is the result of staff being transferred from the country's southern border to states along the northern border. The transfer, which will eventually add 1,000 agents along the Canadian border, is the result of concerns that the northern border has not been adequately protected.

The new agents will lead to more enforcement in the future such as what occurred over the weekend, Bennett said.

The sight of border patrol agents in Portland was unusual.

"It was weird, something-that-doesn't-happen-every-day weird," said Rob Barss, who was asked by an agent for his identification when he arrived by bus at the Concord Trailways station Friday.

A border patrol agent with a German shepherd boarded the bus and checked everyone's identification, he said. Barss had just returned from the Bahamas so he actually had his passport when the agent asked.

Although some people have complained that agents were rude during the weekend encounters, Barss said the man who checked the bus was polite and professional.

Bennett said he understands how some people might wince at an immigration crackdown.

"The typical American doesn't want the masses of immigrants coming to the U.S., but every American feels sympathy for the individual in the U.S. trying to better themselves. And the border control can only apprehend individuals so there's kind of a conundrum there."

Jan 30, 2004


Bill Nemitz staff writer

Their boss insists that they're not trying to act like jerks. It's just that the border patrol agents who descended on Portland last weekend are new to Maine and, this being the dead of winter and all, they apparently can't help themselves.

"A lot of our agents are just off the southern (U.S.) border and there's a different atmosphere down there," said Monte J. Bennett, assistant chief patrol agent for the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection in Houlton. "There are a lot more numbers down there. Things are more aggressive."

In other words, if you're an immigrant in Maine these days, you'd best double-check your papers before you go anywhere and learn to say "Yes, sir" and "No, sir" to anyone in a black uniform and boots. And oh yes, try not to look suspicious.

"My business is down 80 percent since Saturday," lamented Juan Gonzalez, owner of La Bodega Latina Grocery Store on Congress Street. "Customers call me on the phone saying, Is it clear? Can we come down? People are really afraid.

According to bureau spokesman Bennett, what happened Saturday in Portland was a typical "transportation sweep" in which federal agents many recently transferred here as part of a south-to-north shift in homeland security forces visited Portland's airport, train and bus stations in search of illegal aliens.

They netted 10 people whose papers failed to pass muster. At the same time, they left Portland's hard-won reputation as an immigrant- friendly city in tatters.

Nasir Ahmed was behind the counter at Amei Halaal Market on St. John Street when agents walked in and told everyone, employees and customers alike, to get out their passports and green cards. Ahmed said some patrons eating lunch in the Somali market bolted out the back door not because they were undocumented, but because they were scared to death.

"How would you feel if you went to McDonald's and got asked for ID while you were eating your food? That's what happened here," Ahmed asked. "Now, less people come in. We lost a lot of customers."

Mohammed Barre, who was in the store at the time, said much of the anxiety could have been avoided if the agents had clearly identified themselves (several eyewitnesses said they didn't) and, before coming through the door, had taken the chips off their shoulders.

"Unfriendly," Barre replied when asked to describe the agents' demeanor. "Very unfriendly."

Bennett insisted that the operation targeted only Portland's "transportation hubs," not its immigrant enclaves. He added, however, that the agents will investigate anything "that needs investigating."

Would two stores with foreign names, frequented by people with dark skin, each a block or two from the Vermont Transit bus station "need investigating"?

"Based solely on that, no," Bennett replied. "They go more by people's mannerisms."

Thus, we are asked to believe, it was a citywide outbreak of "mannerisms" that attracted agents to Amei Halaal Market, La Bodega Latina and even the Preble Street Resource Center, where director Mark Swann has vowed that the next time agents show up, they'll be asked for a search warrant.

(Lest we all think the agents' attitudes began and ended with immigrants, consider my daughter's welcome Saturday upon arriving in Portland by bus from Boston: After she gave a border agent her license, he demanded her passport. She correctly told him that U.S. citizens don't need passports for interstate travel. "Let me give you a word of advice," he replied tersely. "You need to learn to watch your mouth.")

Where all this tension goes from here is anyone's guess.

Meetings are already being held among Portland's immigrant elders and leaders. And the Latino Health and Community Service has called off its Feb. 14 health fair because, director John Connors explained, "I'm not going to put up posters telling these guys we're going to have a bunch of minorities and immigrants showing up at a particular time and place."

Bennett calls such fears unfounded. If confronted by a federal agent, he said, all anyone has to do is "be friendly, be straightforward and answer their questions." And above all, watch your mannerisms.

Jan 31, 2004

Ethnic groups meet to deal with sweeps decide to pressure officials and decide to help those hiding from border agents.


An ethnic mix of Portland residents met Friday to find a way to calm the fears of the Latino community after a recent sweep by border patrol and immigration agents left many hiding in their homes.

They were joined by leaders from groups such as the NAACP, the Asian American Heritage Foundation, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, the Preble Street Resource Center, Peace Action Maine and Centro Latino, ME.

That statement was echoed in a letter from Portland's legislative delegation to state Attorney General Steven Rowe. State Reps. Herb Adams, Ed Suslovic and Ben Dudley, along with state Sens. Michael Brennan and Ethan Strimling, wrote, "Over 20,000 migrant workers from around the world . . . visit Maine seasonally to do the migrant labor, such as harvesting, that keeps our state economy healthy. We would not want such sweeps to have a chilling effect on legitimate laborers engaged in legitimate work."

Feb 4, 2004


The proposed executive order mirrors an ordinance passed by the Portland City Council.

"We feel pretty positive that (the governor) will send out a strong message that racial profiling will not be tolerated by state employees." Winston McGill, president, NAACP Portland Branch

Groups from around the state asked Gov. John Baldacci Tuesday to issue an executive order banning state agencies from questioning a person's immigration status. During a meeting at the State House, representatives of the groups told the governor the measure is needed to end a discriminatory practice.

The direct appeal to the governor was the latest response by social service agencies, advocacy groups and community action organizations to the heightened attention that immigrants are getting from federal border agents. A sweep of Portland transportation facilities last month resulted in the arrests of at least 10 illegal immigrants.

Baldacci said a two-page draft order submitted by the groups will be examined for consistency by various state agencies, including the Department of Labor and Department of Public Safety. The state will meet with the parties again in two weeks to make a decision on the next steps to pursue, he said.

"I believe we have to do the right thing," Baldacci said, though he pointed out that the work of the federal government supersedes the state in this situation.

But the governor said it is important to demonstrate that Maine wants immigrants and refugees to be treated "the same way we want ourselves to be treated - with dignity and respect."

The groups represented at the meeting included the NAACP Portland Branch, El Centro Latino, the Asian American Heritage Association, the Maine Civil Liberties Union and Peace Action Maine. Several immigrants also attended.

Community leaders say last month's sweeps highlighted larger problems, such as racial profiling and unfair treatment of the immigrant population. They say the sweep left immigrants - including those who are naturalized citizens or have proper documentation - frightened to leave their homes and unwilling to send their children to school or partake in social services.

"We feel pretty positive that (the governor) will send out a strong message that racial profiling will not be tolerated by state employees," said Winston McGill, president of the NAACP Portland Branch.

The proposed executive order closely mirrors an ordinance passed by the Portland City Council last summer. The order would forbid state agencies from inquiring into a person's immigration status unless they are required to do so to prevent a crime or identify a threat to national security.

Agents with the Border Patrol and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs participated in the sweep on the weekend of Jan. 24. They targeted transportation hubs but also checked ethnic restaurants and markets as well as the Preble Street Resource Center.

Officials said the sweeps illustrate a shift in enforcement as more agents are assigned to the country's northern border.

Maine Public Safety Commissioner Michael Cantara said his department will explore ways that it can best address the problems brought up at the meeting.

"From a public safety point of view, there can be no room in Maine for prejudice, racism, sexism or other bias," he said.

On Tuesday the governor also received a letter from the Preble Street Resource Center supporting swift approval of the executive order. It was signed by 29 organizations, including Catholic Charities Maine, the Many and One Coalition, the Southern Maine Labor Council, A Company of Girls and Maine Rural Workers Coalition.

The letter recognizes that the governor has no authority over the federal agents, but goes on to say, "You do have power to ensure that Maine's immigrants feel welcomed by state employees and that state employees are free to do their jobs without becoming entangled in extraneous Federal issues not otherwise required by law."

Feb 7, 2004

City reaches out to immigrants

Speakers try to reassure ethnic groups they can feel safe in Maine.

Portland Mayor Nathan Smith said Friday the city is more committed than ever to making its ethnic communities feel safe in Maine despite federal immigration authorities' recent actions.

"It's no secret that Portland has been a home to immigrants, it's been built on immigrants, by immigrants," he said. "Portland is a stronger, more vibrant city because of our immigrant community."

Smith was joined by more than 40 people at City Hall - a combination of immigrants, civic leaders, concerned residents, state and federal officials - to discuss how increased federal searches for illegal aliens have affected the region.

Residents expressed frustration over racial profiling, persecution and a lack of information on federal immigration laws. Officials emphasized the necessity of the work federal agents do in Maine and across the country to protect borders.

Last month border patrol and immigration agents arrested at least 10 people in the Portland area on grounds of being in the country illegally.

"The federal government does have a responsibility to enforce immigration laws in this country," said Halsey Frank, assistant U.S. attorney for Maine. "That's a responsibility the federal government takes very seriously."

Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe called for cooperation after noting that terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, led to the increased presence of federal authorities. "I do realize that there is a lot of fear in the community, and we want to be part of the solution to alleviate that fear," he said. "But I only think we're going to get there working with these federal officials."

Rowe said state officials have met with representatives from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, both part of the new Department of Homeland Security.

But the audience at Friday's meeting questioned the federal authorities' methods, specifically targeting places frequented by people of color and social service agencies such as the Preble Street Resource Center.

Mark Swann, Preble Street's executive director, said his agency has scrambled to send food packages to more than 90 people afraid to leave their homes. He said federal agents were guilty of class profiling by searching one of the city's busiest social service providers.

"To us this is a clear violation of civil rights. We do feel this was based on color," said Winston McGill, president of the Portland Chapter of the NAACP. "With the facts here, I don't see how that can be disputed by the border patrol at all."

Ben Guiliani, president of El Centro Latino, ME, said terms like "suspicious mannerism" and "probable cause" are thrown around in regard to locating people in the county illegally, but the actions have a ring of discrimination.

"I can tell you the border patrol is not raiding Irish pubs in Boston," he said. "Probable cause is what? Being brown?"

Others were concerned about the lasting impact the sweeps could have on the Portland area. The Rev. Virginia Marie Rincon, a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said naturalized and documented Latinos continue to stay sheltered in their homes, afraid going to the grocery store, the doctor or a social service appointment could lead to an encounter with border patrol agents.

The Rev. Mutima Peter of the International Christian Fellowship Church said questioning status of immigrants amounts to testing their loyalty. Peter said for some the sweeps are all too reminiscent of the state-sanctioned police brutality that caused them to flee their countries.

Many at Friday's meeting planned to attend a rally in Monument Square today. Beginning at 10 a.m., organizers plan to march from St. John Street up Congress to the square, where several guests are expected to speak.

Smith, the mayor, pledged that Portland's city workers and law enforcement officials would continue to adhere to an ordinance passed last year that makes it illegal to question a person's immigration status. He said the city will hold more community forums as it tries to regain the trust of its minorities.

"It's taken a long time to try to build community and try to build trust," he said, "It's very unfortunate that we seem to have lost so much ground in so short a period of time."

Feb 8, 2004

March protests federal sweep activists say the sweep and arrests of suspected illegal immigrants created fear among city minorities.

MARK PETERS Staff Writer

Sigfredo Galvez marched up Congress Street in the snow Saturday for a friend he has not seen in two weeks. Liza Smith was there for the students who have stopped coming to her class in English as a second language.

They joined about 250 other people who marched up Congress Street and rallied in Monument Square to protest last month's sweep by federal agents in Portland that resulted in the arrest of at least 10 people suspected of being illegal immigrants.

The rare sweep in this mostly white city has caused state and local officials and community leaders to request more information about what happened and to push to prevent similar actions in the future. U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, on Friday asked Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to review what happened.

Galvez, 20, recounted how during the next-to-last weekend in January, he dropped off a friend who was in Portland from El Salvador working at a local seafood company. A few hours later, federal agents arrested him. The two have not spoken since.

"A couple of friends got arrested while walking on the street. They are hard-working people," said Galvez, whose family moved to Maine almost a decade ago to escape the problems of urban New Jersey.

Smith, the teacher, said the sweep caused her students, even those who are here legally, to stop coming to her Portland Adult Education class.

During the sweep, immigration officials went to the Portland International Jetport, bus stations and the train station in search of people who are in the country illegally. Agents also checked the Preble Street Resource Center and Latino, African and Asian restaurants and markets, local officials said.

During Saturday's rally, community activists talked about how the sweep has created fear in the city's minority communities. They reported Latino and Somali immigrants have stayed away from markets, restaurants and a recent health fair because of fears of being deported.

The march, which started on St. John Street, consisted of people banging drums, chanting slogans in English and Spanish and carrying signs that read: "Get Your Border Patrol Out of Town" and "We're All Immigrants."

Protesters snaked up Congress Street, and once in the square, crowded around speakers who ranged from elected officials to leaders of community groups. Speakers decried the sweep as an example of racial profiling and an unnecessary action in a city that welcomes immigrants.

"Maine is not Texas, and Portland is not Brownsville. What works down there - and we are not at all sure it does - does not work up here," said Grace Valenzuela, president of the Asian American Heritage Foundation.

Federal authorities have said the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection routinely does checks at transportation hubs in Maine cities. Monte Bennett, assistant chief patrol agent for the patrol in Houlton, said Friday that agents typically do not go into stores and shelters, but may do so if they have reason to question someone.

"Our job is to enforce the law," said Bennett, who added there may be further sweeps in Portland.

But elected leaders who spoke at Saturday's rally wanted federal officials to understand that they oppose another sweep and question the tactics of some agents. They added that immigrants in Portland should not be afraid to leave their homes or seek help from police.

"We need to start a dialogue with the federal officials," said Attorney General Steven Rowe, who met with federal immigration officials last week.

Snowe, in the letter she sent to Ridge, said she understands the need for homeland security and the enforcement of immigration laws, but is concerned about what has happened in Portland.

Feb 10, 2004

Ridge will probe immigration sweep


U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Monday he will investigate a January immigration sweep in Portland that sparked significant local criticism because armed agents targeted the Preble Street Resource Center homeless shelter and minority-owned businesses.

He made the commitment under questioning from U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican who represents Maine and who chairs the Governmental Affairs Committee, which oversees Ridge's department.

During a Senate hearing on the department's budget Monday morning, Collins said "we want the department to vigorously enforce our immigration laws," but told Ridge, "we had many, many serious complaints from community leaders that the way in which this sweep was conducted created a great deal of fear among immigrants who are here legally. And the agents went to a homeless shelter. They targeted Latino, Asian and African restaurants which then experienced a dramatic drop in business throughout this period.

"And there just seems to me that there has to be a better way for the department to pursue its very important responsibilities and . . . to make sure that these sweeps are conducted in a way that is respectful of people and that do not target small business in a way that ends up hurting their business."

Maine's senior senator, Olympia Snowe, also a Republican, wrote to Ridge about the same matter on Feb. 6.

On Monday, Ridge was not familiar with the details of the Jan. 24 immigration sweep.

He told Collins, however, "I would say hopefully if men and women and children are here legally, that they have nothing to fear and shouldn't fear . . . We don't want to discourage the border patrol from doing their job. We also want to encourage them to do it in a way that is consistent with the standards of service of the border control, and that's respecting the rights of individuals, be they legal or illegal, and the rights of the community."

The sweep resulted in 10 arrests, but provoked outrage in Portland, where some elected officials and community leaders questioned the tactics of some agents.

Mark Swann, the executive director of Preble Street Resource Center, said agents walked into the shelter and targeted four Latino men out of a room of 100.

The men all were in the nation legally - one was born here - but, Swann said, they were "pulled out of the shelter, questioned vigorously and intimidated tremendously."

He said "it is great that our senators from Maine have taken note of this and are trying to be heard in Washington about what's going on in this community."

Juan Gonzalez, who owns La Bodega Latina in Portland, said he never questioned the border patrol's job - just the way the sweep was performed.

"They were profiling," he said. "By the senator taking this to the top, discussing this with Ridge, definitely gives us more confidence now saying, 'Yes, indeed, Maine is a state where immigrants are welcome.' "

Feb 12, 2004

Immigration officers mistake strictness for competence. The case of a student from Taiwan raises questions for the Department of Homeland Security.

Copyright 2004 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.

Americans were rightly outraged when they learned that federal immigration officials issued a visa to a Sept. 11 hijacker months after the 2001 terrorist attack. Now, the Department of Homeland Security is trying to improve on that record.

Still, do Americans feel safer with Huei-Ju Yen barred from entering the country?

Until recently, Yen, who is 23 and from Taiwan, was in Maine on a tourist visa attending the University of Maine at Farmington part-time. She also wrote a series of articles for the Franklin Journal, and the paper reimbursed some of her expenses. That's where the trouble started.

Returning from a trip home to Taiwan, Yen was barred from entering the United States because customs officials found articles she wrote and evidence of the expense payments. Immigration officials say her visa does not allow for "payment" for work done here.

This is another example of the Department of Homeland Security mistaking strictness for genuine diligence in protecting our borders. A sweep by immigration officials in Portland earlier this year disrupted small businesses and brought complaints of rudeness on the part of federal agents. Sen. Susan Collins is rightly inquiring about both Yen's case and the Portland immigration sweep.

Protecting our borders should be about finally compiling a database of people who shouldn't be allowed into the United States. It should, as well, be about finding and deporting people who are here illegally without making citizens and legal immigrants feel like they're being singled out because of their ethnic heritage.

Yen's case tells Americans that immigration officials have a renewed focus. Trouble is, that focus doesn't appear to be on the real threats to our security.

Feb 14, 2004

Petition seeks limits on immigration queries

From staff reports

Forty-nine state legislators have co-signed a letter asking Gov. John Baldacci to sign an executive order prohibiting state employees from asking people about their immigration status for inappropriate reasons.

The letter, which both Democratic and Republican lawmakers signed, comes in response to a sweep by federal agents in Portland that resulted in the arrest of at least 10 people suspected of being illegal immigrants.

Leaders of social service agencies, advocacy groups and community action organizations presented the proposed executive order to Baldacci last week. The order would forbid state agencies from inquiring into a person's immigration status except to prevent a crime or identify a threat to national security.

Lee Umphrey, spokesman for Baldacci, said the governor agreed with groups he met with last week but is having various state departments review the order to determine its ramifications before deciding whether to sign it.

Feb 20, 2004

State immigrant order may not be needed

Unlike city government, theremay be times when the state should ask questions about status.

Maine legislators interested in protecting immigrants from unreasonable questioning by state officials should prove that there is a problem before they rush after a solution.

Gov. Baldacci is right to go slow on approving their well-meant request for an executive order, which could create unnecessary interference with state government.

The issue arose after a sweep of some of Portland's ethnic restaurants, bus stations and homeless shelters last month by federal border guards, who, by some reports, were rude and intimidating to a wide range of the city's residents.

In response, a letter signed by 47 members of the House and Senate asks Baldacci to use his executive power to prohibit state employees from inappropriately asking a person about his or her immigration status.

The request is based on a Portland ordinance, enacted last year, which stops police and other city employees from inquiring about immigration status, except when required to by law or court order.

This is a sound policy for the city, which is the dispenser of most emergency services. It would not be in anyone's interest if even an illegal immigrant forgoes medical attention for an infectious disease, or fails to report a fire or a crime out of fear that it could lead to trouble with the law. It is just as bad when a legal resident is afraid that contact with his local government might result in humiliating interrogation.

The state government does not usually play the same emergency role in people's lives, and state services from drivers' licences to health insurance can legitimately be limited to legal residents. As long as state officials are not targeting people for questioning based on the color of their skin or their fluency in English, a polite inquiry could be appropriate in those instances.

Most importantly, the proposed executive order does not address the problem that led to the legislators' request. The brusque sweep of Portland's immigrant community was conducted by federal agents, not state officials. Baldacci has no authority over them, and placing limits on state government will not make federal employees more sensitive in the future.