Remember that old song from the children’s television show Sesame
Street that opens by rhetorically asking, “Who are the people in your
neighborhood?”, the one that responds with the words “the people you meet each
day?” Among the non-threatening types of people the song references are a baker,
teacher, dentist, and grocer. Imagine what an ominous song it would be if one of
the “people you meet each day” were a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
While the Border Patrol has long stalked neighborhoods in the U.S. Southwest,
the agency has now established a threatening presence in the U.S.-Canada
borderlands as well, most notably in little towns and small cities in Washington
State. Read more
Except, immigrant right advocates argue, Border Patrol agents don’t just provide interpretation.
They often question individuals and arrest people who they find are illegally in the country.
“This is a discriminatory practice because it means only certain members of the community are targeted for immigration enforcement: those perceived to be Spanish speakers,” said Jorge Baron, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, based in Seattle. Last week, Baron’s legal aid organization sent a letter to the Department of Justice and Homeland Security outlining these and other concerns they say violate the Civil Rights Act. Read more