A bill that would require towns to make their police officers act as immigration agents and punish towns that don’t comply by cutting all state funding has been introduced in the state legislature by Rep. Lawrence Lockman, R-Amherst. The bill is LD 366, “An Act to Ensure Compliance with Federal Immigration Law by State and Local Government Entities.”

This is a bad bill. We are all safer when there is trust between law enforcement and the community, but this bill would make immigrant communities fear the police. Immigrants would be afraid to report crimes or to cooperate with criminal investigations. This bill would also encourage racial profiling. People could be singled out for different treatment for looking “foreign.”

I have a personal reason for opposing this bill. My grandparents, ethnically Irish, emigrated from England around the turn of the last century. They had difficult lives in their new country and died young. The sons they left, my uncles and my father, often went to bed cold and hungry.

Their struggles are very real to me though they happened years before I was born. I know their lives would have been even worse if their local police had been people to fear and avoid.

Please join me in opposing LD 366. Contact your state legislators. Come to the hearing on the bill on Thursday, April 20, at the Statehouse in Augusta. Arrive by noon. Wear blue to signal your opposition to LD 366.

Sally Regan