This Worries Me

UPDATE: Thanks to Helen (see her comments below) for pointing out a story in the Decatur Daily. A nursing mother has been arrested and separated from her 9-month-old baby because the authorities are looking for her brother.

Apparently local area police are really concerned about gang activity, especially in Hoover, Alabaster, and Pelham. They are cooperating with federal authorities and rounding up hispanics, focusing on those with tattoos. I wonder what this is really about. A search of Google and The Birmingham News archives turned up no reports of hispanic gangs operating in the Birmingham area. That doesn’t mean they aren’t here, but they haven’t done anything newsworthy.

The raids should send a message to people considering joining a gang, said Lt. Scott Tucker of the Pelham Police Department. He declined to comment about the specifics of the investigation but said Pelham officers and other law enforcement agencies are assisting the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement….

He said gangs are everywhere, including Shelby County, but there is not a large contingency there (emphasis mine). Pelham police officers have been trained to identify certain gang symbols and would take pictures of tattoos only in certain circumstances, such as when they thought the picture would assist a future investigation, Tucker said.

So why are police officers stopping cars and raiding homes and taking pictures of tattoos? Why are they splitting up families and sending the individual members off to different detention centers? This looks to me like a back-door immigration sweep. Just assume that all Latinos with tattoos are gang members and send them off to Etowah County for deportation.

I have a suggestion for the local police and the Feds. Stop taking the easy way out by targeting powerless people. America is a beacon to those who want an opportunity for a better life. I hope it always will be. If we really want to stop illegal immigration, the authorities need to go after the employers who are all too willing to hire cheap labor. Supply follows demand. Think about it.

One Response to “This Worries Me”

  1. Helen says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Here’s a Decatur Daily story 7/23 about the arrest of two mothers (don’t you feel safe from ‘gang’ activity now?)

    A few informational links:

    The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005:
    McCain-Kennedy-Kolbe-Flake-Gutierrez Bill at a Glance

    Coalition for comprehensive immigration reform — details and statements from
    supporting organizations

    US Conference of Catholic Bishops immigration reform campaign

    For the Record: interview July 5 with Mary Bauer of
    Southern Poverty Law Center on timber company exploitation of immigrants

    2 hour hearing of House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on ‘OTM’ –other than Mexican immigrants

    Comprehensive immigration reform, such as the McCain-Kennedy-Flake-Gutierrez-Kolbe bills in House and Senate, seems a better approach. Provide people with an opportunity to work legally, reduce the immigration backlog, allow children who’ve been here since an early age to gain status (DREAM Act provisions) , allow hardworking people who’ve never been in trouble to gain status, sanction employers who are providing the jobs without checking papers and ‘smarten up’ border enforcement practices.

    The Chief of the Border Patrol said on C-Span July 12 that a reasonable work-visa program would reduce his load over 90% and allow him to
    concentrate on drug traffickers and terrorists.

    Current practices promote exploitation, violence and hurt people whose only crime is their desperation-driven search for work to survive.

    We also bear responsibility–US policy has supported economic, social and political policies in Latin America that have caused the conditions motivate people to risk abuse and death.

    I’m all for addressing criminal actions, especially when they affect public safety. I am not for broad sweeps that net innocent people and disrupt families.

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