Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fears of Local Police Immigration Enforcement Fuel a Boycott Threat

According to Judy Masterson of the Lake County News-Sun in a July 3, 2007 article titled "Group vows boycott of Waukegan businesses," Latino activists such as the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and Centro Sin Fronteras are threatening to boycott business in Waukegan, Illinois if the City Council there does not back off its efforts to obtain ICE approval to enforcement civil immigration laws.

One speaker at a rally explained that enforcing civil immigration laws drives immigrants into the shadows. Another speaker said that if the local police enforce civil violations, crimes will go unreported and domestic violence victims will stay quiet because police might question them about their immigration status.

That chilling effect (which undermines national security and crime-fighting efforts) already exists in New Jersey, where local police have asked people calling the police to report crimes about their immigration status -- and alerted ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), who blindly obtained deportation orders even though doing so would scare crime victims from calling NJ local police.

According to the news article, those in favor of crime victims' rights and immigrant rights announced that they would start a selective boycott of selective businesses that support the efforts (commonly known as 287(g)).

The threat of a selective boycott seems to show how desperate people are to protect the ability of crime victims and witnesses to contact police for help. Having local police enforce mere civil violations to penalize the victims of crimes who desperately need help is fueling a large backlash that points out how wrong-headed the 287(g) program is.


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