3/16/18, Maine First Media Staff Report,
Following a contentious public hearing, the Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary scheduled a Tuesday, March 20th work session for a bill penalizing Harboring Havens.
It is likely the committee will vote on the bill following the work session. A floor vote in the House could happen as soon as next Thursday, March 22nd.
LD 1833, An Act to Facilitate Compliance with Federal Immigration Law by State and Local Government Entities, would fine any municipality harboring illegal aliens $500 daily. That would add up to $182,500 annually if cities like Portland don’t drop their harboring status.
Opponents of the bill used the public hearing to make personal attacks. Their only argument for allowing municipalities to harbor criminal immigrants at the expense of Mainers is claiming not doing so would be racist and xenophobic. They make little to no mention of any benefits Mainers receive by handcuffing police from questioning about legal status.
LD 1833 is a Governor’s bill, sponsored by Maine-First Representative Larry Lockman of Amherst.
Rep. Lockman says Democrat legislators are following the lead of the most radical elements of their base.
“Left-wing extremists who long for a world without borders showed up at the Statehouse yesterday,” Rep. Lockman said. “Their mission? To rail against legislation (LD 1833) that would facilitate the deportation of violent criminal aliens who have settled in Maine. Sad to say, it appears that the open-border fanatics were successful in persuading Democrats on the Judiciary Committee to allow violent illegals to stay in Maine and continue collecting welfare benefits.”
Sources at the public hearing tell Maine First Media that Committee Chair, Democrat Rep. Mathew Moonen of Portland inquired about adjourning the public hearing and moving directly to a vote. However, one Republican on the committee told the chair they would object to the motion. It would only take one objection to kill such a motion.
Rep. Lockman says open-border legislators are rushing the bill in an aim to kill it.
“I believe Democrats on the committee wanted to short-circuit the process, allowing less opportunity for voters to voice their opinions between the hearing and the work session and influence the outcome — which is typically how the process works,” Rep. Lockman said.
One possible reason explaining Democrats desire to move the bill along without further debate could be the aggressive campaign by Maine First Project pushing supporters to call committee members and demand votes in favor of LD 1833.
Curious by his absence at the meeting was Republican State Senator and Gubernatorial Candidate, Garrett Mason of Lisbon Falls. He was the chief Senate sponsor for the bill but was nowhere to be found.
Rep. Lockman introduced a similar bill last year as well. However, the bill was voted down in both bodies of the legislature. The Republican-controlled Senate voted against the Harboring Havens penalties 22-13 (click here to see the roll call). Meanwhile, the Democrat-led House voted 77-59 against the bill (click here to see the roll call).
Rep. Lockman says he’d prefer defunding Harboring Havens entirely — and if the $500 daily fine doesn’t get the job done, he’ll introduce legislation doing exactly that.
Maine First Project President, Rep. Lockman also said he supports legislation holding politicians who enable Harboring Havens criminally liable for any of the crimes illegals in the Harboring Haven commit.
Maine First Media’s James Mosher was at the public hearing. He will have more details on his experience in his next edition of the Mosher Minutes.
Maine First Media will continue to follow this crucial bill as it makes its way through the legislature.
Below you’ll find the text of Rep. Lockman’s testimony in favor of penalizing Harboring Havens.
Good afternoon, Senator Keim, Representative Moonen and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary. I am Lawrence Lockman, State Representative for House District 137. I am here to present LD 1833, “An Act to Facilitate Compliance with Federal Immigration Law by State and Local Government Entities.”
Please note that in the text of the bill, it says that this chapter may be known and cited as “the Public Safety and Protection Act.”
I hope we can all agree that immigration policy should be grounded in the ideal of what’s in our best interests as American citizens. America is our home, and when I say “our,” I mean we the people, citizens of the United States. America is our home. We get to decide who we adopt, and we get to decide who comes here and how long they stay.
That may sound like a revolutionary statement to my friends on the Left who believe that we stole this land, or to those that believe the Founders were deplorable human beings. But we are, after all, a nation of laws, not a nation of grievance groups and hurt feelings.
The US Constitution clearly delegates authority on immigration matters exclusively to the federal government.
Under the longstanding doctrine in American constitutional law known as “dual sovereignty,” states cannot be compelled to enforce federal immigration laws, but they are obliged not to hinder their enforcement.
So-called “sanctuary cities” (outlaw entities that I refer to as harboring havens) really ought to be called the “New Confederacy” because they are in open rebellion against the United States, just like the slave states that seceded from the Union before the Civil War. The mayors of these cities remind me of segregationist George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door defying federal law enforcement authorities.
The harboring-haven movement has given illegal aliens permission to rob, rape, and murder Americans by, among other things, stigmatizing immigration enforcement.
Before I detail some of the mayhem that’s taken place right here in Maine, let’s talk briefly about the dollars and cents costs of illegal immigration to Maine taxpayers.
According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), about 5,000 illegal aliens live in Maine. We can argue about that number; it’s obviously not precise or exact, but it is consistent with the estimate of 11 million illegal aliens nationally, a number that’s pretty much universally accepted as the minimum, with some credible estimates ranging to upwards of 20 million illegal immigrants currently in the United States.
Based on the estimate of 5,000 illegals in Maine, FAIR estimates the cost to state and local taxpayers at $41 million annually. Since those 5,000 illegals pay only about $1 million a year in taxes, the net cost to Maine taxpayers is about $40 million a year: $22 million for education, $3 million for healthcare, $3 million for law enforcement, $4.5 for public assistance, and $8 million for general government services.
Again, members of this committee may disagree with those estimates. You may have a different estimate of the number of illegal immigrants. But nobody can deny that there is a real and substantial cost. Illegal immigration is a net drain on the state treasury. Whatever the cost is, it is not zero.
So let’s talk about how we got to where we are today with regard to illegal immigration in Maine.
In 2004 Gov. John Baldacci issued an executive order that made the entire state of Maine a harboring haven for illegal immigrants. State employees were barred from asking anyone applying for welfare benefits about their immigration status. In effect, we told the world that although we are a poor state, we have generous welfare benefits. And we don’t care if you’re an illegal immigrant, come to Maine and sign up.
Gov. Paul LePage rescinded that order on his first day in office, putting an end to Maine’s open-borders policy, and for that, the people of Maine owe Gov. LePage a debt of gratitude. Gov. LePage turned off one of the magnets that was drawing illegals to Maine. But there was no way to undo the damage of Baldacci’s executive order. The doors had been wide open for the better part of a decade.
The LePage executive order did NOT undo Portland’s city ordinance forbidding police and city employees from inquiring into anyone’s immigration status. The ordinance also prohibits city police from sharing information about criminal suspects with federal immigration authorities, except under very limited circumstances.
Portland’s harboring-haven ordinance was enacted in 2003, and city leaders boasted at the time that they were following the lead of San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, and Denver.
Portland officials admitted at the time that they had not received any complaints that police or other city workers had ever asked anyone about their immigration status. Talk about a solution in search of a problem.
For me, it’s hard to understand why politicians in Portland would want to handcuff and muzzle their own police department, especially just two years after the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Portland is the only municipality in the state that I know of with a harboring-haven ordinance, although it’s possible that other municipalities have informal, unwritten “don’t ask, don’t tell” policies in place.
It’s also baffling to me why the city of Portland would take $1.7 million of state aid to education in the biennial budget three years ago, and divert that money to an account that gives welfare benefits to non-citizens, including illegal immigrants.
If you wanted to make your municipality a magnet for illegal immigrants, including terrorists, that’s the ticket: let the whole world know that your local police won’t even ask criminal suspects if they’re in the country legally, and let the illegals know they can sign up for welfare benefits, too.
Make no mistake, these policies and practices have life and death consequences for Maine people.
49-year-old Freddy Akoa of Portland was beaten to death in his Cumberland Avenue apartment on the evening of August 9, 2015. Court documents reveal that three assailants beat and kicked him for hours, and bashed Akoa in the head with furniture.
Akoa had 22 rib fractures from the savage attack, cuts and bruises all over his head and torso, and a lacerated liver when his assailants left him on the living room floor of his apartment. Police found a blood-splattered Bible on the floor next to his head. His body was not discovered until two days later, after his mother contacted building management to let them know she was not able to reach her son.
On August 13, four days after the savage murder, three Portland residents aged 23, 31, and 36 were arrested and charged with murder. With bail set at $500,000 for each man, they were jailed awaiting trial or a plea.
Would anyone be shocked to learn that none of the killers is a US citizen? I still don’t know exactly what their immigration status is, and neither does the Assistant Attorney General who prosecuted the case. Imagine that. To this day, the prosecutor doesn’t know their legal status; he doesn’t know if they’re refugees or asylees or “dreamers” or here on student visas. And he doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to find out.
Here’s another fact I discovered without too much digging: the 31-year-old killer has 33 prior criminal convictions.
In fact, the three killers had 68 arrests between them prior to the murder of Freddy Akoa. Their criminal history file is 82 pages long.
Here’s the bottom line for me: these guys should have been deported long before they had a chance to beat Freddy Akoa to death. If you’re not a US citizen, you’re our guest, and you better be on your best behavior. One strike, you’re out.
These guys should have been deported after their first brush with the law. And if the city of Portland had been sharing information with federal immigration authorities, these guys would have been deported or in federal detention, and Freddy Akoa would be alive today.
The Akoa murder is not an isolated case.
Less than a year ago, the man charged with murder in the 2015 death of a teenager in a Portland recording studio pleaded guilty to the murder charge.
A judge sentenced Gang Deng Majok to 30 years in prison for the death of Scarborough teen Trey Aresnault. Majok, who also goes by the nickname “Bang Bang,” shot Arsenault multiple times in a crowded recording studio in Portland’s Old Port.
Investigators say Aresnault was an innocent victim, just listening to a friend sing when he got caught in the middle of the shooting.
Majok is not a US citizen. He came to the US from Sudan in 2002.
The victim’s mother, Nancy Laxson, says she believes Majok should have been deported after committing other crimes.
“I’m a nurse, I help everybody, and I think when you do something wrong you don’t have the right to be here,” Laxson said. “It’s not fair, if that had happened to him a long time ago [being deported], Trey would still be here, but we can’t take back time, so hopefully we can make laws that will help other people.”
Majok is also facing charges in separate cases, including aggravated assault and drug trafficking.
Once again, this is a case of a career criminal non-citizen with a long rap sheet, but because the politicians in Portland handcuffed and muzzled their own police department, federal immigration authorities were never notified. Trey Aresnault would be alive today were it not for Portland’s harboring-haven ordinance.
LD 1833 would require all municipalities in Maine to comply with federal immigration law and it would prohibit policies that forbid police officers from initiating an inquiry into anyone’s immigration status.
Towns and cities that continue to defy federal immigration law by harboring illegal immigrants would face fines of $500 a day until they come into compliance.
These are common-sense measures, and I’m frankly surprised at the controversy that’s been generated.
Enactment of LD 1833 will save lives, and it will save money. It will shut off one of the magnets that attract violent criminal aliens to settle here.
Fellow legislators, it’s time to make Maine safe again.
I urge members of this committee to send the bill to the Legislature with a unanimous “ought to pass” report.