Dean Scontras, Seacoastonline (Portsmouth, New Hampshire), February 10, 2008
Editor’s note: The writer is a resident of Eliot, Maine, and a GOP candidate in Maine’s 1st Congressional District.
One of the great travesties of the Bush administration has been an unwillingness to deal with the crisis of illegal immigration. One of the greatest travesties of the Baldacci administration is an executive order issued in 2004 that has transformed our state into a sanctuary for illegal aliens.
The citizens of Maine and the Legislature were never asked if they approved of such an appalling decision. The governor took it upon himself to devise a plan to welcome illegals to Maine and to force the taxpayers to support them with the vast array of welfare benefits that this state provides. It is no wonder our taxes are so high.
We don’t know how many illegal aliens are currently in Maine. We do know that we have issued more than 5,300 driver’s licenses to people who do not have a Social Security number. We can assume that most, if not all of them, are in the United States illegally. But in the world of illegal immigration, complete with its human smugglers and fake ID industry, it is reasonable to assume that word has spread far and wide that Maine is a sanctuary state that will not only protect illegals, but will give them all the financial benefits of citizenship.
It is fair to ask how many of these Pakistanis may be terrorist “sleepers” who have slipped into Maine and are basking in protected status. Thomas Anderson, a U.S. attorney involved in busting the smuggling rings, put it this way: “When an organization has established a pipeline to aliens from various countries, including countries with terrorists, into the United States, they don’t care who’s passing through the pipeline as long as they are paying.”
Under Gov. Baldacci’s executive order, state employees are prohibited from inquiring about immigration status when someone applies for state services. That means staffers in a welfare office cannot ask an applicant if he or she is in our country legally. It means that employees at a motor vehicle office cannot ask license applicants if they are U.S. citizens or legal residents. An illegal alien from Pakistan gets exactly the same treatment and level of service as a Mainer whose family has lived here and paid taxes for generations.
With the collapse of leadership in Washington, the states are now taking action. They have watched as their hospitals were overrun with nonpaying illegals, as their prisons were packed with illegal alien felons, as their social welfare budgets were wiped out by illegals, and as alien drug gangs eroded their quality of life.
The number of states passing immigration-related bills has skyrocketed this year. No fewer than 1,404 pieces of immigration legislation were introduced in state legislatures during the first half of 2007. All told, 46 states enacted 194 new immigration-related laws in 2007—triple the number from the previous year. Maine now remains one of only seven states that continue to issue driver’s licenses to people here illegally.