We don’t often post editorials from the major papers, but in light of our coverage of the recent directive from the Attorney General in New Jersey around local law enforcement we wanted to highlight a recent editorial from the Washington Post:
Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo hurried to New Jersey last week to “encourage the family of the victims [of the Newark killings] to pursue a lawsuit against the city,” suggesting that Newark’s tolerance of illegal immigrants might be partly responsible for the killings. Fellow Republican candidate Mitt Romney suggested in a radio ad that Newark was tempting fate because its leniency is attracting more illegal immigrants. Rudolph Giuliani, considered the Republican front-runner, expressed frustration with the fact that “we don’t throw (illegal immigrants who commit crimes) out of the country.”
Giuliani has sided with Tancredo and Romney in ratcheting up the fears and hatemongering around immigration in the US, and as the Washington Post points out, it is sad that they are using the case of the Newark killings to do so:
Posturing of this type is at best disingenuous. The number of deported illegal immigrants with criminal records has increased substantially in recent years, according to Homeland Security Department statistics. As a former prosecutor and mayor of New York City, Giuliani knows that successful crime reduction is based on a multifaceted approach that combines tougher enforcement with crime-prevention strategies. Targeting illegal immigrants was not a central element of crime fighting in Giuliani’s New York.
In news reports, relatives of the victims and Newark residents have insisted that the problem is not immigration. James Harvey, father of one of the students killed, sees it as a failure of the criminal justice system. As he told The Washington Post, regardless of whether the suspect with a criminal record was a “citizen of our country or not, he was prone to violence and he should not have been released.”
Newark Mayor Cory Booker also refused to jump onto the anti-immigration bandwagon. Announcing new measures to crack down on the flow of handguns into his city, Booker made clear where he sees immigration in relation to fighting crime: “It’s important I don’t have a climate in Newark where, documented or not, naturalized or not, people are afraid to talk with police.”
Most of us in the immigrant rights movement anticipate that 2008 will be a year filled with hate speech, fear mongering and low blow politics from both sides of the electoral race around immigration- So what are we going to do about? We’d love to hear your ideas here….