A New Hampshire judge on Friday threw out a novel strategy that two police departments had tried to use to combat illegal immigration.
The strategy involved charging illegal immigrants with criminal trespassing, and in the last few months such citations were filed against at least nine people, most of them Mexicans, in the towns of New Ipswich and Hudson.
The police chiefs of those towns had said they decided to take immigration matters into their own hands because overburdened federal immigration authorities were unable or unwilling to take action against immigrants who were not considered dangerous or otherwise a high law enforcement priority.
On Friday, the judge, L. Phillips Runyon III of Jaffrey/Peterborough District Court, said the towns’ actions could not be upheld because such immigration matters must be left to federal authorities.
“The criminal charges against the defendants are unconstitutional attempts to regulate in the area of enforcement of immigration violations, an area where Congress must be deemed to have regulated with such civil sanctions and criminal penalties as it feels are sufficient,” Justice Runyon wrote.
I discussed this when the cases first went to trial. It’s as stupid and indefensible an idea now as it was then.