Judicial Watch • Thomas Perez

Thomas Perez Archives | Judicial Watch

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.  

Obama’s Department of Justice has ordered Colorado to protect the interests of “language minority populations” by strengthening a Court Interpreter Oversight Committee that assures immigrants who don’t speak English get free translators.The new DOJ mandate also applies to civil cases, which means that U.S. taxpayers will fund interpreting services for foreigners who may stand to make settlement money. Under the agreement, announced this week, the Colorado Judicial Department will also develop “state and local language access plans” that address “both oral interpretation and the translation of vital written documents.”A revitalized state Court Interpreter Oversight Committee will be expanded to include an attorney, prosecutor, public defender and an “advocate” representing the interests of the “language minority populations,” according to the DOJ’s order.Interpreters have always been provided in criminal cases and in civil cases in which litigants were indigent. The new DOJ accord mandates free access to “timely and competent language assistance” for all “limited English proficient individuals” in all cases. This won’t come cheap. Colorado’s court system already spends nearly $4 million on 25 full-time interpreters and 300 contractors who provide services in 75 different languages.The assistant attorney general that President Obama appointed to run the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division (Thomas Perez) says it’s essential because “justice cannot be served without access and effective communication.” Perez is a known open-borders advocate who served on the board of a controversial, taxpayer-funded day laborer center (Casa de Maryland) that assists illegal immigrants.Last year Perez lied to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to cover up that political leadership was involved in the dismissal of the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party. Judicial Watch obtained recordsthat prove top political appointees were intimately involved in the decision to drop charges against the radical black revolutionary group for bullying voters with racial insults, profanity and weapons during the 2008 presidential election.A former Maryland Labor Secretary, Perez has made a number of controversial moves at the DOJ to protect illegal immigrants and minorities in general. Last fall he sued a public college system for discrimination because it requires job applicants to furnish proof of residency before getting hired and earlier this year he launched an initiative to eliminate written tests that discriminate against minorities in the workplace.

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