Wednesday, August 24, 2005
CONCORD, N.H., Aug. 23 -- The state attorney general's office will not appeal a ruling that dismissed trespassing charges against a group of illegal immigrants arrested by two police chiefs who said they were frustrated by lax federal enforcement.
Attorney General Kelly Ayotte (R) has written to the state's police chiefs, saying her office will not appeal and instructing them not to use the trespassing law to take undocumented immigrants off the street.
"This office has determined that there is an insufficient basis for appeal," Ayotte wrote in a memo dated Aug. 15.
Police in Hudson and New Ipswich this spring arrested illegal immigrants, mostly from Mexico, under the state's trespassing laws. They argued that people in the country illegally also were in the towns illegally and, thus, were subject to trespassing laws. The immigrants had been stopped on traffic violations and then admitted they were in the United States illegally, police said.
Judge L. Phillips Runyon ruled earlier this month that the trespassing charges cannot be used as an immigration tool, agreeing with defense lawyers that the small-town police chiefs had violated the Constitution by trying to enforce federal laws.