Let’s Just Be Done with the 287(g) Nonsense

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.

9 thoughts on “Let’s Just Be Done with the 287(g) Nonsense

  1. Pingback: Looking For Racism In 287(g) : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

  2. Question – Does the progam check the legal status of every person arrested or pulled over or whatever starts the inquiry? Or is the status check based solely on race?

  3. Gah! My mother loves to respond to these things with “I’m not racist, and I think he’s got the right idea.” She thinks that, if someone is doind something “illegal,” they’re doing something immoral. There are no extenuating circumstances. No one could be squashed from all sides so hard that they have to flee their home and family to go to another country where they can find clean water and an apartment to share with 12 other people. When you’re desperate, “legal” and “illegal” become luxuries that have little imapct on decisions. Morality is a different issue.

    She could never understand my friendship with my former neighbors, 1 of them 5 of them was here on only the loosest of legalalities, while, of the other 4, 2 were born here (two funny little girls), one was here legally (and a Desert Storm vet), and the other, his mother, had just become a citizen. But because one wasn’t “just so,” she wanted them all subjugated, and, for preference, gone.

    WTF?! Although, her problem is less racism and more classism, wrong is wrong, and I so wish she’d open her eyes to reality… People who can’t fight back shouldn’t be made to “dissappear.”

    I guess I’m still a child in some ways, because “unfair” is the one thing I just plain hate!

  4. Jim, in Nashville the traffic stops themselves are based largely (not solely) on race, as I have been told by police officers.

    Pixie, would your mother have killed Hitler or Stalin if she’d had the chance, seeing as how murder is illegal?

  5. Oh, sorry, I don’t think I even meant it that way. I just … the illegal = immoral argument has always bothered me, and I think taking it to its logical absurdity at once is the best way to deal with it.

  6. I agree, NM, though I confess to not being a fan of the “Godwin” thing. I think it is overused to the point of being as irrelevant as the thing it is supposed to ward off.

    That said, I feel Pixie’s pain. My mother is a life-long fundie, and I recall her discussing her usual End Times thing (I think it was roughly a year ago) and saying with a straight face that gay people trying to get married was a sure sign that the apocalypse is upon us. I was deeply annoyed. Mass murder not doin’ it for ya, Ma? Thousands of people left to drown in a preventable flood? Wars? Famine? None of that sets off your Armageddon detector? But the homos having the nerve to want to live like human beings in broad daylight, well, that must really push the God of Love over the fucking edge.

    Sorry for the rant, but I’m just strenuously agreeing with NM. A lot of our laws are written or modified based on such arbitrary, short-sighted, and often bigoted criteria that disobeying them has nothing to do with morality. Our immigration laws are near the top of that list.

  7. Well, I think one could make a case that one’s personal moral system demands such subservience to authority that breaking any law, regulation, or rule would be immoral. But that’s pretty extreme, and if that’s one’s personal moral system I think it’s a good idea to acknowledge that fact and be sure that one really means it.

    And (even leaving the question of illegal immigration of any type, for any reason, completely aside) don’t get me started on the idiocy and ineptness of the way legal immigration is overseen and administered. It’s possibly the most inept bureaucracy we’ve got, and has been ever since Reagan was president. You can follow the immigration laws and regulations to the letter and still be completely screwed. But that’s a different rant.

  8. Getting back to Jim’s question, according to the Nashville city paper:

    an individual must then go before a judge before being booked into the jail, where a foreign-born arrestee’s immigration status is checked.

Comments are closed.