A Look at Immigration 'Enforcement' and the Aura of Criminality


The Latino/a community has had ample reason to hope that President Obama would take on immigration reform in a humane manner. While Obama is undeniably centrist in his political approach, and has long been fond of language stressing punitive solutions to the immigration issue, he certainly seems to understand that "America is changing and we can't be threatened by it." Enforcement policies are becoming a threat, not only to immigrants, but the country at large.

AlterNet picks up on a position paper authored by the Sanctuary's founding editors (of which I am one) on the Luis Ramirez killing and subsequent court case. The article ties the crime and Shanendoah jury's decision to a larger pattern of dehumanization aimed at Latinos/as, and analyzes "[h]ow effortlessly a subhuman category of being is constructed and subsequently reviled."

It's a disturbing lens for examining current immigration-related news, but useful. If a person is deemed criminal by nature of their appearance, name, and culture, then the larger public will feel comfortable treating them in ways they would never condone for themselves. This process unfolds when the nation is made fearful by hack punditry and politicians who continually employ aggressive verbiage and dishonest framing of the realities we face.

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