Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Clams long have been made that U.S. immigration enforcement discriminates against Mexicans, Central Americans, and others from Latin America. At the same time, many Latina/os are employed in U.S. immigration enforcement.
A new study in the journal Political Research Quarterly by David Cortez reports that Latinos are disproportionately represented in law enforcement agencies like ICE and Border Patrol. For example, Latinos make up about eight percent of the federal workforce and about 18 percent of the population. Latinos make up 30 percent of ICE agents and nearly 50 percent of Border Patrol agents.
The socioeconomic status of a region heavily influences the decision to join law enforcement for a person of color. In regions like El Paso, Texas where the percentage of those with college degrees almost matches the rate of poverty — both about 20 percent — economic opportunities are scarce and survival is important.
David Cortez’s research found motivating factors for the Latino agents included economic self-interest and the pride that comes from having a “good job,” along with the security of benefits.
For more on the study, click here.