Friday, October 16, 2015

LA Times: Homeland Security Internal Email Discusses Ongoing Practices of Racial Profiling Against Immigrants

Posted By on Fri, Oct 16, 2015 at 10:38 AM

The Los Angeles Times got its hands on an internal email by the Department of Homeland Security that hints to the continuous practices of ethnic and racial profiling by law enforcement agencies against immigrants. 

The email talks about two Honduran men, who waited for a ride after their construction job, and were later apprehended allegedly for loitering, the LA Times writes. The men "were detained by Louisiana police in May on loitering charges because they looked Latino, according to a Sept. 21 Homeland Security email that was released inadvertently and obtained by the Los Angeles Times," the article says.

From the LA Times:
“The only basis for the arrest seems to have been to give Border Patrol an opportunity to run an immigration investigation,” wrote Megan H. Mack, head of the Homeland Security Department’s civil rights office, in her report to Sarah Saldaña, Immigration and Customs Enforcement director, and other ICE officials. “This is not a practice the department wishes to endorse or facilitate.”

Mack said the men posed no threat and should be released.

The case highlights the concern among some senior Homeland Security leaders that local police are making arrests based on appearance and then calling immigration agents to check on a detainee’s status.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials chose not to follow Mack’s recommendation and say they are still planning to deport the two men, Jose Adan Fugon-Cano and Gustavo Barahona-Sanchez. Because both men had been removed from the U.S. before, they are still priorities for deportation under the department’s guidelines, said ICE spokesman Bryan D. Cox.

The men are being held at the Alexandria Transportation Center in Louisiana.

According to the men’s lawyers, the case shows how the agency is still using arrests by local police to round up low-level offenders in the country illegally, in spite of a new plan to target only priority cases. Lawyers say the reports of these internal investigations rarely come to light.
News of the email come after the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona released yesterday a detailed report on Border Patrol abuse at checkpoints. Turns out that of more than 140 reports of said abuse, there was merely one disciplinary action.

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