Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pressure builds, politicians listen, rights vindicated

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It was heartening to read today that, now that he's no longer acting as the President's political fixer, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has become an advocate of letting most undocumented immigrants get on with their lives in peace. He's responding to the hopes and needs of his own population, not trying to manipulate a fractious nation.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he would propose an ordinance that would bar police officers from turning over illegal immigrants to federal agents if the immigrants do not have serious criminal convictions or outstanding criminal warrants. ...

“If you have no criminal record, being part of a community is not a problem for you,” Mr. Emanuel said, speaking at a high school library in Little Village, a Latino neighborhood. “We want to welcome you to the city of Chicago.”

New York Times, 7/11/12

I can only take this as evidence that Mr. Emanuel wants to be Mayor-for-life like several of his recent predecessors. He knows what's happening in his city -- it is only getting browner.

… the city saw a 7 percent drop in non-Hispanic whites and a 21 percent decrease in blacks since 2000; the Latino population increased by 3 percent to 753,644. Now whites and blacks each make up 32 percent of the city’s population and Hispanics account for 29 percent.

Medill Reports, Northwestern University

He also knows that the most successful cities are the most immigrant friendly cities.
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Also today, the New York Times reports:

New York City’s accelerating use of police stop-and-frisk tactics has brought a growing chorus of opponents who have been matched in intensity only by the officials who defend the policy. But recent rulings by federal and state courts have now cast judges as the most potent critics of the practice, raising sharp questions about whether the city has sidestepped the Constitution in the drive to keep crime rates low.

The inescapable conclusion is that the city will eventually have to redefine its stop-and-frisk policy, legal experts say, and that the changes — whether voluntary or forced — will fundamentally alter how the police interact with young minority men on the streets.

...Randolph M. McLaughlin, a law professor at Pace University, said the new judicial attention was a product of the numbers: More than 80 percent of those stopped in New York are black or Latino, and last year there were 686,000 stops, with this year’s numbers heading higher.

“People are starting to wonder: ‘What’s really going on here? Is this a racial policy?’ And judges read the newspaper too,” Professor McLaughlin said.

Of course "stop and frisk" is a racial policy. For young men of color, New York is a repressive police state. It has taken awhile, but obviously pressure against this ugly byproduct of white anxiety is finally gathering force. There are other approaches to reducing crime and violence. Just maybe, New York City is going to have to learn what others have been discovering -- racial profiling destroys communities. Those same communities could help reduce crime with a little help from their friends.

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