DECEMBER 20, 2011
In a matter of days the Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that federal investigations of law enforcement agencies in different parts of the country uncovered a pattern of discrimination against Latinos in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
This appears to be part of a much bigger Obama Administration plan to crackdown on local governments that try to curb illegal immigration. The DOJ has legally challenged immigration control laws in Arizona and Alabama and the administration has made it clear that it’s keeping a close eye on law enforcement agencies that may be viewed as targeting illegal aliens.
Just read this week’s findings involving the police department in the tiny Connecticut town of East Haven, population around 29,000. According to a lengthy federal probe the East Haven Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of discrimination against Latinos by intentionally and disproportionally targeting them for traffic enforcement and treating them “more harshly than non-Latino drivers after a traffic stop,” the DOJ found.
Furthermore, the East Haven Police Department has failed to remedy a history of discrimination and deliberate indifference to the rights of minorities, the DOJ says. The department also fails to collect and report traffic stop data in accordance with state racial profiling laws. Among its many offenses over the years is failure to provide “limited English proficient Latinos with appropriate language access” and a failure to abide by individuals’ consular rights. This appears to refer to illegal aliens who may want to contact their country’s consular office after getting in trouble with the law.
Last week it was the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department in Arizona that got blasted by the DOJ for engaging in a pattern of unconstitutional policing. Specifically, the DOJ’s “extensive” investigation found that the Maricopa County Sherriff’s Department engages in racial profiling of Latinos, unlawfully stops, detains, and arrests Latinos and unlawfully retaliates against individuals who complain about these racist practices.
The feds took it a step further by also saying that the Maricopa agency has discriminatory jail practices against Latino inmates with limited English proficiency by punishing them and denying them critical services. Officers also follow “police practices that have the effect of significantly compromising” the agency’s “ability to adequately protect Latino residents,” according to the DOJ.
The Maricopa Sheriff’s “systematic disregard for basic constitutional protections has created a wall of distrust between the sheriff’s office and large segments of the community, which dramatically compromises the ability to protect and serve the people,” said Thomas Perez, the Assistant Attorney General Obama appointed to run the DOJ’s bloated civil rights division.
Ironically, it was less than a year ago that a top Obama immigration official defended the Maricopa Sheriff’s program to crackdown on illegal immigration, which clearly triggered the DOJ racial profiling investigation. Dozens of illegal aliens with criminal records have been apprehended, restoring law and order in a large Phoenix business district rife with solicitation, trespassing, loitering and public health ordinance violations created by day laborers.
Earlier this year the assistant secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (John Morton) said there was no evidence of racial profiling by deputies in Maricopa County and that the majority of the illegal immigrants arrested have been convicted of serious crimes. “Sixty nine percent of the people we receive in Maricopa County have been convicted of Level 1 and Level 2 offenses, which are serious felony offenses, drug trafficking, assaults, rape,” Morton said during a meeting with editors of a local newspaper. He added that the Maricopa program has been consistent with meeting his agency’s priority of arresting illegal immigrants who commit serious crimes.
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