Sunday, April 25, 2010
Guest Blog by Patrick Davis: When Prejudice Becomes Policy, We All Lose
I am deeply disturbed by the recent passage of legislation in Arizona which requires local law enforcement officers to investigate the immigration status of persons without documentation. Codifying intolerance and discrimination is just wrong.
As a law enforcement officer, I have worked hard to overcome prejudices and stereotypes on the part of police and communities. Personal security is an individual and personal right, and the most basic of services our government can provide. But, when prejudice becomes policy, we create a barrier to safety; not just for those who may be undocumented, but for the entire community.
As sheriff, I will put people before politics. Using law enforcement to create a class of people who are less equal than others is wrong on so many levels. The supporters of these policies know the true consequences: Hispanics in Arizona, documented or not, are now subject to unreasonable detention when they fail to possess papers. No one should be required to carry paperwork to demand dignity and respect.
When a person needs help, she should not be afraid to call 911 because the responding officer may arrest her before going after the true criminal. A witness to a crime should never be discouraged from entering the courthouse because he is afraid they he will never be permitted to exit.
Public safety is a public problem. Solutions involve everyone in our community, regardless of their social, economic or cultural status. When we create a class of people who are afraid to work with law enforcement in the established way, those people are subject to exploitation by gangs and violence.
As sheriff, I will reverse our department's policy allowing the investigation of the immigration status of persons not charged with a serious crime. And as sheriff, I will fight against any and all attempts to marry law enforcement with discrimination.
A simple slogan has been reused by numerous campaigns in the past few years: RESPECT. EMPOWER. INCLUDE.
This simple statement is more than a slogan. It should be the mission of those of us in public service. As sheriff, I will make it the mission of our department.
Electing the right Sheriff is so important. Join me in my campaign for the Democratic nominee for Sheriff.
Visit my website, SheriffPat.org, to donate time or money to keep the campaign moving forward! Together, we will make a difference!
This is a guest blog by Patrick Davis. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.
You make excellent points about people who might be afraid to interact with law enforcement because of this bill. It has the potential to create many bad problems and stir up hate at the same time.
Posted by: Ron | Apr 25, 2010 1:22:21 PM
As a Hispanic home owner in the Southern Arizona area I am disturbed about your comment as a potential county sheriff. The illegal immigration, violence and the chaos that follows is out of controll in our area. The federal government is doing nothing to protect our safety and our property. I'm appalled when law enforcement does not even agree illegal means illegal. What's this country comming to when law enforcement does not agree to enforce the law and sees discrimination in illegal. Word of advice to a potential law enforcer. It's always best to review the law and what it consists of before making ignorant comments.
Posted by: Steve | Apr 27, 2010 5:08:24 PM
there are no illegal people.
I hope you remember to carry your ID, birth certificate or passport. This law codifies racial profiling targeted squarely at brown people. I agree that federal immigration law needs to be reformed. It needs to provide venues for the undocumented to become documented.
Posted by: Claus | Apr 27, 2010 5:26:56 PM
Steve, funny how if you are an Hispanic homeowner in Southern AZ, your IP comes in as Mammoth Lakes CA. Law enforcement is not charged with enforcing immigration law, federal authorities are.
Posted by: barb | Apr 27, 2010 8:04:18 PM
I too agree that law enforcement is not charged with enforcing immigaration law and the federal authorities are. I wish that were true. Where are the federal authorities? What is being done? Let's put this in perspective: Arizona is bankrupt over illegal immigration, we are taxed to death and the crime and violence is out of controll. Phoenix is the second leading kidnapping city in the world. Sorry! But as a law abiding tax payer, that statistic does not sit well with me. It should not sit well with any other rational American citizen. What do you expect Arizona to do? Sit around and wait for a vote driven self indulgent federal government (both democrat and republican) to come and save us. HELLO!!! Arizona is taking action because of the lack of government inaction. Arizona has no choice but to take action and do something about the epic immigration and violence problems. As a Hispanic Arizona homeowner, yes Barb, Arizona home owner. I would much rather cope with a minor inconvenience of providing a identification if I am put in that position then feel like nothing is being done. I am more concerned with my family's safety and my property then minor inconveniences. You want to talk about discrimination. Bet you didn't think about how America and the federal government is discriminating against Arizona and it's residences by criticising and creating propaganda based on race. The government is discriminating because it is doing nothing to solve the problem except point fingers and create hate driven race propaganda to avoid having to deal with the problem. Here's a thought! How about protest the American governments inaction towards the chaos going on with Arizona American citizens. How about educate yourself and protest the source not the desperate solutions. Arizona needs the country's support not it's criticisms!! It's your duty as a American citizen to become part of the solution not throw fellow Americans under the bus because they are in a desperate situation.
Posted by: Steve | Apr 28, 2010 2:28:02 PM
So Steve I take it you support comprehensive immigration reform and you will write and call your Republican members of Congress to urge them to support it? If you want to fix a problem you have to go to where such laws are made not support what is really vigilante justice that is a threat to everyone's civil liberties. Conservative Republicans are the ones stopping real reform. Get on their butts.
What you say is inaccurate about taxes. Get the facts: http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/topic/13.html. Arizona is experiencing budget problems like most states and it's worse because you have so much sprawl development that is sitting empty. That is due to greed not immigration. Your property taxes are very low, so funding services is hard.
On crime, you will have more of it and less attention by the police because they will be too busy looking for "suspicious" people to do their job and that is why the police chiefs of AZ don't like the law.
Every big city has crime. Phoenix is now a huge city thanks to all the wild development you had out there. Many kinds of people commit crimes not only undocumented immigrants. You are scapegoating.
Posted by: Studying Law | Apr 28, 2010 5:50:17 PM
I was curious so I googled about crimes by immigrants. The conservative Cato Institute tells the story: http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2009/11/24/higher-immigration-lower-crime/ and it says exactly the opposite of what steve is claiming.
Posted by: Ian | Apr 28, 2010 6:01:09 PM