AUGUSTA — In one of his first official acts, Gov. Paul LePage is issuing an order allowing officials in state agencies to question people with whom they come into contact about their immigration status, infuriating civil libertarians.
The Republican’s executive order today rescinds one that had been issued by his Democratic predecessor, John Baldacci, that barred state officials from asking about immigration status. A LePage spokesman says the governor wants to send the message that with scarce state resources, he’s putting Mainers first.
The Maine Civil Liberties Union’s Shenna Bellows says she fears this is “the first step in an anti-freedom agenda.”
When Baldacci first issued his order in 2004, it banned officials from inquiring about the immigration status of anyone applying for services, including law enforcement. Baldacci later amended it so it no longer covered law enforcement.