Romney OKs Detention of Illegal Aliens

The Associated Press
Wednesday, December 13, 2006; 10:58 PM

BOSTON -- Gov. Mitt Romney, who is weighing a White House bid, signed an agreement Wednesday that allows Massachusetts State Police troopers to detain illegal aliens they encounter over the course of their normal duties.

Under the terms of the agreement, made with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, an initial group of 30 troopers will receive five weeks of specialized training next year, paid by the federal government.

The troopers will be drawn from the Violent Fugitive Apprehension Squad, the Criminal Investigation Section, the Anti-Gang Unit, the Drug Enforcement Unit and the Community Action Team.

"The scope of our nations illegal immigration problem requires us to pursue and implement new solutions wherever possible," Romney said in a statement. "State troopers are highly trained professionals who are prepared to assist the federal government in apprehending immigration violators without disrupting their normal law enforcement routines."

The governor, who has been burnishing his conservative credentials in anticipation of a campaign for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, has advocated building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to staunch the flow of illegals into the country.

Yet the duration of the new policy is in doubt, because Romney leaves office Jan. 4 and his successor, Democrat Deval Patrick, has said he opposes placing the additional burden on the troopers.

Patrick called the policy a mistake.

"It's unwise given all the other demands on the state police to ask them to take on the added responsibility of enforcing federal immigration laws," the governor-elect said Wednesday night in Springfield. "I don't think it's much more than a political ploy to bring them in." He said he's investigating what power he might have to nullify the agreement.

The agreement also comes at an embarrassing time for Romney, who has pledged to announce his decision about a presidential candidacy early next year.

The Boston Globe reported recently that the landscaper who maintains the governor's 2.5-acre property in Belmont has been employing illegal aliens.

That arrangement prompted criticism from the Democratic National Committee.

"Mitt Romney is showing his true colors in the waning days of his administration," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Damien LaVera. "By using the immigration debate to pander to extremists in his party after years of taking advantage of undocumented workers, Romney is proving to be just another hypocritical political opportunist with no business running for the White House."


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Rudy Giuliani has hired the Republican National Committee's political director to head up his presidential exploratory committee, a top adviser to the former New York City mayor said Wednesday.

"We're very pleased to announce that Michael DuHaime is signing on as executive director of the exploratory committee," said Anthony Carbonetti. "His national political knowledge garnered from his years of Republican field organization work coupled with his service as the RNC political director make him a great asset to the team."

DuHaime served as Northeast regional political director for President Bush's 2004 re-election campaign. Before that, DuHaime was executive director of the New Jersey GOP. He was named RNC political director by party Chairman Ken Mehlman in January 2005.

National polls have shown Giuliani and Sen. John McCain of Arizona as front-runners for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Wednesday night found Giuliani holding a lead, 34-26, over McCain.


Associated Press writer Marc Humbert in Albany, N.Y., contributed to this report.

© 2006 The Associated Press