Thursday, September 30, 2010

Conservative Insecurity and Immigrants

This week the Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs, on which I am an appointed commissioner, sparked controversy by asking the Multnomah County (includes Portland) Board of Commissioners to opt-out of the federal Secure Communities program. We attached a letter from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that acknowledges the existence of such a procedure.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors is to be credited for pushing the opt-out issue and gaining this formal recognition. Following Napolitano’s acknowledgment on September 7th, so far at least two counties, California’s Santa Clara County and Virginia’s Arlington County, have invoked the opt-out procedure. In Oregon, our Commission letter this week sparked immediate controversy. National hate radio blowhard Lars Larson commented on his program that our Oregon Commission is complaining because the County is checking backgrounds of criminals who are rapists, drug dealers and killers. Of course, the knock on Secure Communities is that it is being used primarily to target immigration status violators rather than for dangerous criminals. In fact, our Commission letter specifically indicated that we support the deportation of those immigrants convicted of serious crimes. As expected, conservative commentators can’t be concerned with such nuances, as they are looking for stories to support their two-pronged belief that all undocumented immigrants are dangerous criminals, and that Latino organizations are complicit in the supposed carnage.

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