Thursday, October 9, 2008

One in Ten Latinos Asked for Papers for LWL: Living While Latino

Headshot Angela Kelley of the Immigration Policy Center has an interesting post on the Huffington Post on the current immigration climate's impact on Latina/os in the United States.  It begins: 

"The current climate of undeterred public immigrant-bashing along with an immigration policy of "attrition through enforcement" has cultivated unfettered hatred and bigotry against an entire ethnic population. A recent survey by the Pew Hispanic Center shows its toll: half of all Latinos, immigrant and non-immigrant, say that their situation in this country is deteriorating and is worse now than it was a year ago. One in seven Latinos are reporting ethnic discrimination in finding or keeping a job and 10% said the same thing about housing. But the most stunning finding is that nearly one-in-ten Hispanic adults--native-born US citizens and immigrants alike--report that, in the past year, the police or other authorities have stopped them and asked them about their immigration status. One in ten Latinos were stopped and asked for "papers." What can that statistic represent other than a gross abuse of power by federal and local authorities?"  (emphasis added).


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That statistic represents the incontrovertible fact that hispanics comprise a disproportionate number of the illegal aliens who are living in this country. If our southern neighbor were Norway instead of Mexico, the police would be asking 6'2" blond men with square heads these same questions.

It is not an abuse of power to ask someone his immigration status. Now, it may be an abuse of power to "stop" someone, but we don't know from Ms. Kelly's emotion-filled screed what exactly "stopped" means. Were they randomly hailed on the street and asked about their status? Were they already involved with law enforcement in some other way and then were asked about their status? Were they rounded up, carted off, and deprived of sleep, water, and nourishment?

And the fact that hispanics are doing worse than they were a year ago is probably more a reflection of our economic woes than heightened police scrutiny. If Pew surveyed white Americans, I am quite sure they too would report that they are worse off than they were a year ago.

Finally, the "one-in-ten" stat doesn't seem that egregious given the great influx of illegals from Mexico. I would have expected it to be higher. Either the police are showing remarkable restraint or they aren't doing their job.

If I lived in Mexico and a vast and overwhelming proportion of white male Americans living there had committed a particular type of crime, I would not be offended when the cops looked at me a little suspciously.

I would, however, be angered, but not at the police. I would be angry with my fellow white Americans because it would have been as a direct result of their illegal behavior that I have encountered greater scrutiny.

Perhaps the indignance of our legal Latino friends and countrymen is misplaced.

As I have said before, illegal immigration hurts legal immigrants more than any pro-border enforcement or anti-illegal immigranion group ever could.

The just recipe is a simple one: Reward (even expand) legal immigration, but punish illegal immigration (and it's white U.S. citizen enablers).

You only encourage and condone a disrespect for the rule of law by rewarding the breaking of it.

Posted by: peter | Oct 10, 2008 6:01:26 AM

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