Nezua has the GAO press release that states what we all know–the 287(g) program is a mess. I’d like to believe that maybe it was the combined discovery that our fine Sheriff was shackling pregnant women to their hospital beds and speaking to white supremacist groups that will be the nail in the coffin of this racist bullshit. I’m keeping my fingers crossed anyway.
I know I said it before, but let me be clear. The 287(g) program is racist by design. It is enacted in communities where there is a perception that there are too many brown Spanish-speaking people and the success of the program is measured by a decrease in brown Spanish-speaking people in the community. There is no way to make it neutral. It cannot be fixed. It only works–it only shows success–by singling out Hispanics and visibly decreasing the population.
That is such straight up old school racism–to pick someone out based on the color of her skin in order to subject her to the caprices of law enforcement and to justify it by claiming that people who have that skin color are such notorious law breakers that everyone who has that skin color must be closely monitored and scrutinized–that I almost wonder if it’s allowed to succeed just because of the sheer audacity of the situation.
It is so bold in its racism that I think people’s first reaction is to try to believe that they are not seeing what they are clearly seeing. They go through all kinds of mental leaps to make sense of it in a way that doesn’t include “I tolerate blatant injustice and evil from my city.”
But as long as Davidson County participates in the 287(g) program, we are tolerating a racist–straight up old school non-academic-definition but real true if you saw it in a movie you’d know the people doing it were the bad guys racist–system.
And if we’re not going to stand up and say, “You know what? Nobody in this county should have the power to make 1% of the city disappear in two years.” then I hope the Feds step in and put a stop to it.
Edited to add: John Lamb is all over this story with the even more alarming details–that even ICE thinks that how Hall is running our 287(g) program is outside of the bounds of how they intended the program to be run. And how Hall on the one hand told people he would only target dangerous criminals and how he’s now all “I had no idea the program was only supposed to target dangerous criminals.”
The Tennessean article he links to is really good, too, though the comments make you weep for the state of Civics classes in our school systems. Guess what, folks? If some people who get arrested for driving without a license are mildly embarrassed and fined and maybe serve a little jail time and some folks who get arrested for driving without a license are stripped of their families, there’s something fucked up about your judicial system. A basic tenent of our justice system is that people are not excessively punished and you should be alarmed that some folks’ punishment is 1000 times more severe than other folks.