Groups rally for curbs in immigration - Gathering targets illegal aliens, welfare

By Elizabeth Walters, Concord Monitor, September 26, 2005

The New Hampshire police chief who charged an illegal alien with trespassing lost that battle last month when a district court judge ruled that only the federal government could enforce immigration laws. But New Ipswich Police Chief Garrett Chamberlain told an audience in Concord last night that he's not done trying.

He won't be alone, judging by the applause from about 250 people who packed the Grappone Conference Center's ballroom for the New Hampshire Center for Constitutional Studies'annual celebration of the signing of the Constitution.

Chamberlain was among the featured speakers, along with Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the Minuteman Project, and U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, a Colorado Republican. In workshops and speeches throughout the day, many presenters focused on curbing government welfare or immigration.

Chamberlain made headlines last year when he stopped a van and found nine illegal immigrants who told him they had been working in a neighboring town for $18 a day. He contacted federal immigration enforcement, but he said officials told him they weren't interested in taking the workers into custody. Chamberlain took a photo of them and attracted the attention of media outlets and lawmakers, including New Hampshire's U.S. senators, Judd Gregg and John Sununu.

Chamberlain said last night that his concern was for national security.

"The problem is that when someone enters this country illegally, under cover of the darkness of night, they are a nonperson," he said. "They do not exist on paper."

Without documentation, such people are difficult to identify and track if they commit a crime, he said.

Chamberlain achieved further notice in April when he stopped Jorge Ramirez, a 21-year-old illegal alien from Mexico. Chamberlain said last night that immigration officials said they didn't want Ramirez, so he charged him with trespassing. The case against Ramirez was thrown out last month by Judge L. Phillips Runyon of Jaffrey District Court.

Still, Chamberlain thinks there may be other methods of discouraging illegal aliens. He is paying special attention to a state law that prohibits employing illegal workers and applies a fine of $1,000 to the employer for every day the person works there. He also plans to contact Attorney General Kelly Ayotte to suggest setting up a task force on illegal aliens....

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