OCTOBER 12, 2007
A Texas cityâ??s program to get rid of criminal immigrants has led to more than 1,600 deportations and furious Latino rights advocates will rally at City Hall this weekend to block further implementation because they say the measure is racist and discriminatory.
Irvingâ??s Criminal Alien Program simply checks the immigration status of anyone arrested within city limits. Those found to be in the country illegally are turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and eventually deported for violating federal immigration laws.
The unprecedented team effort between local and federal authorities is centered on around-the-clock communication between the agencies. During the programâ??s first year 1,638 of the 14,298 suspects arrested in Irving turned out to be illegal immigrants who subsequently got handed over to federal immigration officials.
Now illegal immigration advocates, who initially supported the effective program, are playing the race card. They claim that police officers are bigots who racially profile suspects and that all immigrantsâ??legal and illegal alikeâ??now live in fear.
The Mexican consul (Enrique Hubbard) in Texas even warned immigrants from his country to stay away from Irving, a city of about 200,000 residents located in what is knows as the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex. The consul said people are being detained in Irving simply because of their appearance and accused local police of running an immigration operation by racially profiling.
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