A project of the Center for Community Change

new york times

NY Times: Local immigration enforcement is a bad idea and Dallas can prove it

I recently wrote about the Dallas, TX police officer who wrote a ticket to a woman for being “a non-English speaking driver”, and then the subsequent discovery that the agency has written 39 such tickets in the past few years. Check out the video above for more on this.

Today, the New York Times picked up on the story and had this  say:

This is a country that has repeatedly gone overboard in its reaction to immigrants who don’t speak the common tongue, but the mind still reels at this one. Where were these officers’ supervisors, who presumably reviewed and approved each of these tickets after they were filed? Where were the judges who must have encountered these language offenders in traffic court? The noxious practice was exposed and stopped only last month after one driver, Ernestina Mondragon, responded to her ticket with defiance and a lawyer.

The embarrassment is not just a problem for the Dallas Police Department. The country is in the middle of a fierce debate over how local police departments should deal with recent immigrants. Many but not all of them are here illegally but have otherwise committed no crimes.

On one side are the Obama administration and the homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano, who firmly believe in outsourcing immigration enforcement to local police departments. On the other side are the considerable ranks of police chiefs and law-enforcement experts across the country who say there is no good reason for turning cops into immigration agents.

There is no question that the efforts to do so have been marred by poor training, racial profiling and other abuses — and widespread fear in the communities that the police are sworn to protect. If there is any remaining doubt, just take a look at what happened in Dallas.

Translation: immigration enforcement at the local level (287g) is a bad idea. Comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level is a good idea.

Its really quite simple, guys.

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NYTimes Endorses AgJobs


Last week I posted on the introduction of AgJobs, a bill that marks a great step towards Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Saturday’s New York Times featured a great editorial on why AgJobs merits support:

In a climate of seemingly permanent stalemate and rancor over immigration, a bill that has the support of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the advocacy group Farmworker Justice obviously has something going for it.

It’s a model compromise, mixing pro-business pragmatism with a commitment to protecting workers — future Americans — who do some of the country’s most vital yet difficult jobs. Whether AgJobs is enacted on its own or, more likely, folded into a larger immigration bill, it deserves a place at the table of comprehensive reform.

Please remember to:

Click here and send your Member of Congress a message telling them to support AgJobs!

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Remade in America


The New York Times is featuring a series on the impact of immigration in the United States. Right now the series features two interesting articles (here and here) on immigrant children and growing up in the United States.The pieces follow the story of Jesselyn Bercian, daughter of El Salvadoran immigrants, who lives in Washington, DC.

Growing up in this corner of immigrant America, Jesselyn Bercian saw herself as an ordinary Salvadoran-American kid. She dropped out of high school, hung out with gangs and identified with poor, streetwise blacks. To the extent she gave it any thought, she considered poverty a Latina’s fate.

How representative is she?

Though the articles approach the topic of assimilation (a tricky concept for many), they also note that sometimes assimilation can mean something other than what we typically expect.

The problems of young people like Jesselyn are sometimes called failures of assimilation. But they can also be seen as assimilation to the wrong things: crime, drugs and self-fulfilling prophecies of racial defeat.

As Jesselyn tells it, she assimilated to the surrounding values of gangsta rap.

“If you’re Hispanic, people already expect you to steal, to fight, to be rude, to be ghetto,” Jesselyn said. “If everyone thinks wrong of you, eventually you’re going to start thinking wrong about yourself.”

To read the full series, click here.

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