Thirty Days of Love, Day 18: Stop Police Terror
Description: The only secure community is the beloved community. But the federal government’s so-called Secure Communities program is terrorizing communities and tearing apart families. Learn more about this controversial program and how you can help move your community away from this Draconian program.
To Do: Participate in a national Interfaith Immigration Coalition/NDLON webinar to learn more about the campaign to end Secure Communities. Sign up for the webinar here. Please join us, and find out what else you can do by going to http://www.interfaithimmigration.org/index.php/2011/11/21/iic-scomm-toolkit/ where you can download the S-comm Toolkit for Interfaith Grassroots Advocacy, sign up for the accompanying webinar, and look at the map to see if there are any Advocacy Teams already working on this issue near you.
My problem with S-Comm.
I thought a while before deciding whether to write my personal feelings and opinion and about S-Comm. After all, defeating the S–Comm. is a matter of principle: as an open and free society we do not tolerate the intrusion of the government into our affairs until and unless it can show founded probable cause to believe we are breaking the law. In a land founded and formed by immigrants skin color or accented speech are not probable cause for the government to suspect an individual of being in this country illegally.
I finally decided I needed to write about this personally when I realized that even though my status as an American citizen protects me from the terrible consequences of being picked up by police who suspect I might not be a legal resident, and despite the real erosion of Civil Rights inherent in S–Comm. it is not (I believe) a “Trojan Horse” that leading to further erosion of our rights, but S–Comm. affects everyone who lives in community. So, it is personal – for all of us.
Asking local police to do the job of the Federal Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement (ICE) transforms them from agents charged with protecting citizens into agents for terrorizing communities. My son was not born in this country and speaks heavily accented English. He attends a bilingual school; half of the student-body speaks Spanish as their native language. There is often a police officer standing in the street, ostensibly to control traffic, but I’ve noticed him take notes as parents and children arrive for school. He engages with us but few respond. When he addressed my son (in a friendly way) I found myself checking the impulse to stop my child from saying hello.
This is wrong. It erodes the bonds of society and of community, so it is personal.
No person in this country should have to live in fear of the police, unfortunately because of S–Comm. too many of us do.