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View Full Version : Latinos accuse Border Patrol and ICE agents of racial profiling



Aerohead
07-31-2011, 12:33 PM
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011107300409

On a sunny afternoon last month, Francisco Arguelles Jr. was fishing for silver bass along the Detroit River near Jefferson when a Border Patrol agent pulled up.

About 50 other people were around him, but Arguelles said the agent came straight to him and his brother -- the only Latinos there. The agent asked for identification, then started peppering the U.S. citizens with questions: Where are you from? When was the last time you were in Mexico? How do I know you're not an immigrant?

Arguelles, 28, said he told the agent, "I was born in Detroit."

But soon, four more agents arrived. They eventually left, but the Detroit brothers said they were shook up -- two of a growing number of metro Detroit Latinos who accuse federal agents of racial profiling.

Detroit congressmen have called for a meeting with the national director of the Border Patrol, which denies profiling.

Meanwhile, an internal review by another federal agency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, found that Latinos' accusations against its agents were unfounded or unsubstantiated, according to an ICE report obtained Friday by the Free Press. However, the agency has "drafted a new policy that more clearly defines enforcement activities at or near sensitive locations," the report says.
New Immigration Customs Enforcement report denies Latinos' accusations of racial profiling

Lidia Reyes pointed to the sign that hangs high outside her social services office on Fort Street in southwest Detroit.

"LATINO," it read in big capital letters.

"This is why we're being harassed," said Reyes, director of Latino Family Services and a U.S. citizen of Mexican descent.

Over the last year, she said, her employees and people who visit the center for services such as health care and after-school programs increasingly have been targeted by federal agents. At one point in April, she said, the number of clientele dropped 75% after a series of incidents at her building.

The directors of metro Detroit's two other major Latino social service agencies, the Detroit Hispanic Development Corp. and LA SED (Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development), report similar problems.

"It's caused fear in the community," said Angela Reyes, executive director of the Detroit Hispanic Development , who also was born in the U.S. "It feels like we're under siege."

Reyes said that because of the incidents, "I carry my passport with me every day."

Latino residents -- legal immigrants and U.S. citizens -- say they increasingly are being pulled over, questioned and even detained because of their ethnicity. They say federal agents are engaging in illegal racial profiling as residents go about everyday activities -- from waiting at bus stops to doing landscaping work to going for a walk.

But spokesmen for both U.S. Customs and Border Protection, also known as Border Patrol, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement say they don't use racial profiling. On Friday, ICE rejected claims that its agents acted inappropriately during a March 31 raid at Hope of Detroit Academy, an elementary school where 85% of students are Latino. Agents had arrested some parents who were dropping off children at school and followed others home.

ICE also denied allegations of a raid April 7 at Neinas Elementary, also a Detroit school where 78% of the students are Latino. "This alleged operation simply did not occur," an agency report said.

ICE Director John Morton met with Detroit community leaders in April and announced an investigation.

But an internal review of the incident at Hope of Detroit "reveals that ICE ... officers did not engage in any abuse or professional misconduct," ICE Director of Public Affairs Brian Hale said Friday. Moreover, the report said that 11 other complaints raised by metro Detroit Latinos against ICE agents were unfounded or unsubstantiated.

The complaints, though, prompted ICE to reinforce its "sensitive location policy with all field office directors," according to the report, obtained Friday by the Free Press.

"These events have provided the agency an additional opportunity to reiterate its policies governing ... operations involving sensitive locations in a manner that addresses community concerns and is appropriate under the law," Hale said.

Still, there is increasing concern about Border Patrol. U.S. Reps. John Conyers and Hansen Clarke, Detroit Democrats, have asked the national director of Border Patrol to meet with metro Detroit Latinos. Earlier this month, hundreds of people jammed Hope of Detroit for a public hearing on profiling that Conyers and Clarke attended.

During the hearing, Clarke stressed a point that advocates for immigrants often make: Michigan needs immigrants.

"You're the reason why we have vibrant neighborhoods in Detroit," Clarke, the son of an immigrant, told the cheering crowd.
A growing community

The accusations come as the Latino community is growing in metro Detroit. There are now more than 156,000 Latinos in the tri-county area, according to recent census figures. Meanwhile, the number of deportations in Michigan and Ohio has jumped, from 2,243 in fiscal year 2005 to 8,054 in 2010, a 259% increase. Mexico and Guatemala are the top countries for removals, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Illegal immigrants are being deported, but the enforcement is leading to harassment of legal residents and U.S. citizens, metro Detroit Latinos say. Border Patrol denies harassing people.

"There is no one prototypical subject for whom Border Patrol agents are looking to the exclusion of others," said Kris Grogan, spokesman for the Michigan office, adding that "the Border Patrol regularly apprehends illegal aliens and smugglers from all nations and ethnicities."

Lidia Reyes and others say they fully support efforts to go after criminals, but they are concerned about their centers being under surveillance and about people being randomly stopped.

According to Reyes and her employees, workers at Latino Family Services have been stopped and questioned at least six times over the last three months, even though they were U.S. citizens or legal residents.

On the afternoon of May 5, the agency held a women's forum that drew about 50 Latinas, Reyes said. A convoy of Border Patrol agents -- a patrol car followed by about six officers on bicycles -- appeared and circled the building several times, she said.

At one point, employee Martha Reyes asked the agents: "Are you lost? Do you need directions?"

About a mile down the road at Detroit Hispanic Development, employees said agents have taken similar action, showing up when Latinos are attending English-language classes. Director Angela Reyes said federal agents are stalking women who take part in a walking class sponsored by the agency.

Advocates with the Detroit-based Alliance for Immigrants Rights said they have recorded a dozen cases of profiling in Detroit by Border Patrol agents from April to June.
A look at procedures

Ruben Torres, 45, a third-generation Mexican American born in the U.S., said he was pulled over by an ICE agent in an unmarked vehicle March 24 at a traffic stop in Detroit.

"He asked me for my visa. And I told him I didn't have a visa. ... The only Visa I have is on my credit card," Torres said.

He said the agent questioned him about his citizenship and immigration papers.

"I continued to explain, I was born here. My family raised me here, I'm third generation."

Torres said the agent called for backup. A car with three more agents pulled up.

"They all asked me the same questions: Where was I born? Where were my parents born? Where did I attend school? Everyone took a turn."

At one point, one agent said "he needed my birth certificate. I said, 'Who drives around with a birth certificate in their wallet? I was born in the United States and I can speak English just as well as you do.' "

He said the agents left after about 45 minutes.

The incidents are prompting a discussion about proper procedures for federal agents.

According to ICE policies, agents can't target schools, hospital, houses of worship, funerals or weddings, unless extraordinary circumstances are identified by headquarters. The policies don't mention social service agencies.

Border Patrol policies vary by region, said Ryan Bates, director for Alliance for Immigrants Rights & Reform in Michigan. Some branches have policies similar to ICE's rule against targeting sensitive locations, but the Detroit branch doesn't.

Federal agents with Border Patrol have targeted Latinos while fishing, said Guillermo Arguelles.

On June 11, he and his brother, Francisco Arguelles Jr., were fishing along the Detroit River. But the U.S. citizens were stopped and questioned by agents who appeared to target them based on their appearance, Guillermo Arguelles said.

"I have rights, too," Arguelles said while on break at the auto parts plant where he works. "Why were only Hispanics singled out?"





There was an article in the Free Press about a month ago that there were protests by Hispanic-Americans about the tactics used by Border Patrol/ICE Agents in the area where their relatives (who were illegal immigrants) were arrested and deported and they felt it was wrong - they gave specific examples of showing EXACTLY how tactics like this worked to weed out the illegal immigrants.

I get it that no one likes to be harassed by law enforcement - but isn't illegal immigration one of those things where you are kind of forced to 'profile' to an extent to even do the job? If the focus is on illegal Mexicans coming into the United States - then wouldn't the focus be on patrolling places/areas (like Southwest Detroit) where Hispanic people and illegal immigrants are known to frequent and stop Latino people, check their identification, and then let them go if they are legally here?

Unistat
07-31-2011, 01:59 PM
I will bet that in any one of these cases of "racial profiling" at least one of the BPAs were Latino/Latina.

Cyber_Saint
07-31-2011, 02:03 PM
My god. Someone has accused the Border Patrol and ICE of racial profiling! We're surely in uncharted territory on this one.

District B 13
07-31-2011, 04:49 PM
And the problem is????

SgtCHP
07-31-2011, 05:23 PM
I wonder if the complainers have ever taken the time to measure the ethnic makeup of the Customs and Border Patrol Agency working the border?

Rudy8116
07-31-2011, 05:46 PM
Ehh, Detroit just isn't used to having a large hispanic population, yet.

OneAdam12
07-31-2011, 06:13 PM
Ok, answer this. If I am immigration and I don't look for Latino's to stop and ask questions to see if they are illegal am I doing my job?


Why were Hispanics singled out?
DUH!

Who is crossing the border illegaly?

White
Black
Hispanic
Asian

Your answer here. _____________

mdrdep
07-31-2011, 08:28 PM
There are only two things I hate in this world; People who are intolerant of other people's way of life, and the Dutch.

Rudy8116
07-31-2011, 09:11 PM
There are only two things I hate in this world; People who are intolerant of other people's way of life, and the Dutch.

http://cache.ohinternet.com/images/2/24/I_see_what_you_did_there_super.jpg

Justsaying
07-31-2011, 09:51 PM
My god. Someone has accused the Border Patrol and ICE of racial profiling! We're surely in uncharted territory on this one.


Isn't that their job?

irish21
07-31-2011, 10:09 PM
Someone give that Border Patrol agent a promotion!

And I love how people cry "harassment" over being asked three or four questions.
Good lord, the government took 30 seconds of your time to ask you questions! Better call the ACLU and cry foul!

Unistat
07-31-2011, 10:44 PM
Ehh, Detroit just isn't used to having a large hispanic population, yet.

Well, not like the southwest, of course, but Detroit has had a large hispanic population for a couple of decades now. There is, in fact, a section of the city called Mexican Town. It's posted that way on the highway signs and everything.

reils49
07-31-2011, 10:49 PM
And the problem is????

There isn't one. The left just wants you to think there is.

Firebug
07-31-2011, 11:15 PM
Ok, answer this. If I am immigration and I don't look for Latino's to stop and ask questions to see if they are illegal am I doing my job?


Why were Hispanics singled out?
DUH!

Who is crossing the border illegaly?

White
Black
Hispanic
Asian

Your answer here. _____________

The answer is all of the above.

FB

yellowreef
07-31-2011, 11:40 PM
I wonder if the complainers have ever taken the time to measure the ethnic makeup of the Customs and Border Patrol Agency working the border?

I remember a vehicle stop one dark night where we were accused of being racist "white boys" and only messing with hispanics. Dude was pretty embarrased when we got him out of the car and he realized all 3 or 4 of us were hispanic. Priceless.

Cyber_Saint
08-01-2011, 01:33 AM
I wonder if the complainers have ever taken the time to measure the ethnic makeup of the Customs and Border Patrol Agency working the border?

Don't take this as gospel but I remember seeing somewhere the the Border Patrol is over 50% Hispanic. Not by alot, but still over 50%. I'll see if I can't find that info.

913
08-01-2011, 01:42 AM
If I was questioned about my being legally in the US, I would be happy to answer questions no matter what my ethnicity was. I don't see a problem.

gopherpuckfan
08-01-2011, 10:44 AM
There are only two things I hate in this world; People who are intolerant of other people's way of life, and the Dutch.

Hey, you can't speak ill about a place you've never visited. That's what people do in Russia.

codemanski
08-01-2011, 11:09 AM
If I was questioned about my being legally in the US, I would be happy to answer questions no matter what my ethnicity was. I don't see a problem.

+1 on that 913. What's the issue...either you are here legally or illegally. I would think those of us who are here legally would WANT those here illegally found out and deported...I just don't get it!

Aerohead
08-01-2011, 11:55 AM
Hey, you can't speak ill about a place you've never visited. That's what people do in Russia.

LoL

99 Fenix
08-01-2011, 12:55 PM
Hey, you can't speak ill about a place you've never visited. That's what people do in Russia.

twas an austin powers joke...

oh wait LOL

JQC
08-01-2011, 02:42 PM
Reyes said that because of the incidents, "I carry my passport with me every day."

Seriously??? Get a friggin Passport Card. Stick that in your wallet and you're done.


During the hearing, Clarke stressed a point that advocates for immigrants often make: Michigan needs immigrants.

"You're the reason why we have vibrant neighborhoods in Detroit," Clarke, the son of an immigrant, told the cheering crowd.
A growing community

http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2011/05/fbi_detroits_violent_crime_rat.html

As someone who immigrated here 100% legally, I have no problems with BP doing their jobs and going after people who skirted the process that my family worked hard to comply with.

codemanski
08-01-2011, 02:47 PM
seriously??? Get a friggin passport card. Stick that in your wallet and you're done.



http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2011/05/fbi_detroits_violent_crime_rat.html

as someone who immigrated here 100% legally, i have no problems with bp doing their jobs and going after people who skirted the process that my family worked hard to comply with.

exactly!

BTR1701
08-02-2011, 01:23 AM
Latinos accuse Border Patrol and ICE agents of racial profiling

And in other news, water has been found to be wet.

Indy
08-02-2011, 04:11 PM
I remember a vehicle stop one dark night where we were accused of being racist "white boys" and only messing with hispanics. Dude was pretty embarrased when we got him out of the car and he realized all 3 or 4 of us were hispanic. Priceless.

I bet he was silent after that.

JJHunsacker
08-02-2011, 06:25 PM
My god. Someone has accused the Border Patrol and ICE of racial profiling! We're surely in uncharted territory on this one.

The irony is, Hispanics are technically caucasion.