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Race, Leadership, and Social Change


Race, Leadership, and Social Change

This group will explore how to utilize a racial equity lens in leadership and social change work.

Members: 20
Latest Activity: Apr 12, 2011

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"Waiting for Superman" thoughts

Started by Mike Beebe. Last reply by monica m valadez Oct 26, 2010. 2 Replies

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Comment by Dale Nienow on May 11, 2010 at 1:56pm
NY governor seeks to counter deportation laws

Gov. David Paterson stepped into the immigration debate Monday, saying he would create the nation's first "pardon panel" to investigate requests of legal immigrants facing deportation because of past convictions.


Associated Press Writer

Gov. David Paterson stepped into the immigration debate Monday, saying he would create the nation's first "pardon panel" to investigate requests of legal immigrants facing deportation because of past convictions.

Paterson, proposing the measure as the nation is embroiled in conflict over an Arizona law that critics say would encourage racial profiling, said he would pardon immigrants if they meet requirements including rehabilitation and demonstrate they're not a danger to society.

Paterson is seeking to combat what he calls harsh and rigid federal measures that result in deporting of immigrants who have shown considerable rehabilitation.

Arizona's measure makes it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally. It directs local police to question people about immigration status and demand to see their documents if there is reason to suspect they are in the U.S. illegally. With the federal government's failure to secure the border, Arizona has become a major gateway for drug smuggling and human trafficking from Mexico.

Paterson said he will seek to use a governor's pardon as a tool to blunt what he called the rigid federal rules for deportation even of immigrants who have successfully engaged in a new life in America.

"To be sure, there are some individuals whose crimes are egregious or who pose a threat to public safety. And they are justly removed from the United States," Paterson said. "But there are others for whom the situation is far less clear. For them, our national immigration laws leave no room to consider mitigating circumstances. But in New York, we believe in rehabilitation. And we believe in renewal. And we believe in second chances."

The National Conference of State Legislatures says immigration bills are proliferating, with more than 1,500 introduced last year, but none like Paterson's idea. The National Governors Association also knew of no similar effort.

Paterson's staff said they know of just a handful of cases that could qualify for a pardon at this point, but expect more after Monday's announcement. The panel will comprise executive branch workers, and no extra cost is expected.

"It's an important initiative to try to provide at least some measure of sanity into the current immigration mess," said Steven Banks, attorney at the New York City Legal Aid Society. "Longtime New Yorkers can be removed from this country as a result of a relatively minor incident in the remote past."

In March, Paterson pardoned Quing Wu, an executive and Chinese immigrant who as a teenager was convicted of a mugging.

"After completing his sentence, finding a job, becoming engaged and living as a productive member of society, he applied to become a United States citizen," Paterson said. "Because of his convictions, Mr. Wu was detained for months and set for deportation to China, a country he left when he was 5 years old and to which he has no connection. To correct this injustice, I pardoned Quing Wu. He had paid his debt."
Comment by Dale Nienow on May 7, 2010 at 2:08pm
We continue to hear more about the many ways states and cities are dealing with immigration. Unfortunately, too many are about the negative impact of an enforcement only approach. Here is another piece from DC.

A hint of Arizona in D.C.'s approach to illegal immigrants

By Ron Hampton
Sunday, May 2, 2010; C05

The passage of Arizona's law targeting illegal immigrants should sound alarms all over the country. While many have denounced this law as overly harsh, it is a natural offshoot of a wave of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local police partnerships that are rapidly changing the way law enforcement operates in communities -- with devastating consequences.

The blurring of the roles of local police, who are there to preserve public safety, and immigration enforcement, a federal responsibility, comes at the expense of one of the most significant advances in local law enforcement: community policing.

After 25 years as a D.C. police officer, I can say with confidence that building relationships with the community is fundamental to preventing and solving crimes. When trust is replaced by fear of deportation, everyone's public safety is compromised.

Washington is not Arizona, but that doesn't mean this trend hasn't arrived here. In November, D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier signed an agreement with ICE to implement a little-known program deceivingly called "Secure Communities." The initiative comes on the heels of the failed 287(g) program, an effort to train local officers to enforce federal immigration law. Like many localities around the country, the District balked at 287(g). But Secure Communities is nothing more than 287(g) rebranded.

Secure Communities is carried out at the jails of participating jurisdictions, but like 287(g) it enlists local police to enforce federal immigration law. It is touted as merely a technology- and information-sharing program, but this hardly appears to be the case. The Secure Communities Standard Operating Procedures show that ICE relies on local law enforcement to question arrestees and forward information, helping to funnel thousands of people into the mismanaged and ineffective ICE detention and removal system. Even though the program is operating in 168 jurisdictions in 20 states, with more on the way, little information is available on whether it is effective or whether ICE is acting according to its stated enforcement standards. In fact, we know very little about the program at all.

But we do know that Secure Communities and other ICE-police collaborations do not include or secure the "communities" they are supposed to serve. Quite the contrary. Enforcement efforts such as Secure Communities and 287(g) prevent police from doing their jobs, because such systematic ICE-police collaboration damages the core principle of effective community policing: trust. For communities of color who already have fragile relationships with law enforcement, trust is a critical tool for ensuring security and safety. Lest we forget, community policing and community consultations are essential to effective law enforcement and to helping to minimize profiling in communities of color.

President Obama recently acknowledged that the erosion of trust between police and their communities is a threat to fairness and community safety. The foundation of successful practices like community policing is threatened when local law enforcement is given the impossible task of enforcing ICE's agenda; rather, it creates hysteria among people who might be fearful of detention and deportation.

Police enforcement of immigration law can only have devastating consequences, with increased potential for racial profiling and covering up unlawful arrests. Before we go any further down the road to Arizona, we must put the brakes on Secure Communities.

The writer, a former community officer with the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, is executive director of the National Black Police Association.

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