Tag Archives: latino hate crimes

Civil Rights Groups Condemn Recent Hate Crimes

I have had the unfortunate task of covering the brutal murders of both Marcelo Lucero and Luis Ramirez on this blog. I have also posted several times on the spike in hate crimes against Latinos that is being witnessed in the United States. The hate speech and the vitriolic rhetoric surrounding the issue of immigration has created a violent and dangerous environment for all immigrants, and specifically Latinos.

lucero5Yesterday, national organizations gathered to denounce the recent rash of Hate Crimes and to call for more agressive investigation and prosection of these crimes at both the local and the federal levels.

“We believe that the Justice Department has to become more aggressive in prosecuting hate crimes,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, one of the nation’s historic civil rights organizations. “As a country, we’ve come a long way, but there is still more change needed.”

“Hate crimes such as these must be investigated and prosecuted fully at the local and federal levels,” stated John Trasviña, MALDEF President and General Counsel.

Additionally, the organizations connected the dots between hate speech and the violence inflicted on immigrants. It is time to call for an end to the dehumanization of immigrants that allows unthinkable stop_hate12violence and hatred to enter into the mainstream.

“There is a direct connection between the tenor of the political debate and the daily lives of immigrants in our communities. It is no accident that, as the immigration debate has demonized immigrants as “invaders” who poison our communities with disease and criminality, haters have taken matters into their own hands and hate crimes against Latinos are on the rise for the fourth consecutive,” said Michael Lieberman, Washington Counsel, Anti-Defamation League.

While the groups cited Barack Obama’s election as marker for how far we’ve come as a nation, they also emphasize that is a starting point, from which to build on for a more hopeful and less hateful future.

For more on what you can do, check out www.wecanstopthehate.org. And to see video from the press conference – click here.

Another Year and More Hate Crimes Against Latinos

Earlier this week, the FBI released a report documenting Hate Crime Statistics in 2007. Much like every other year since 2003, the number of hate crimes directed at Latinos has increased.

From the Southern Poverty Law Center blog:

As anti-immigrant propaganda has increased on both the margins and in the mainstream of society — where pundits and politicians have routinely vilified undocumented Latino immigrants with a series of defamatory falsehoods — hate violence has risen against perceived “illegal aliens.” Each year since 2003, the number of FBI-reported anti-Latino hate crime incidents has risen (see table, below), even as a swelling nativist movement has become larger and more vitriolic.

Anti-Hispanic Hate Crimes

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When the Extreme Becomes Mainstream

Last week, I mentioned a recent Pew Hispanic Center Study which found that 1 in 10 Latinos has been stopped and asked about their immigration status by police or other authorities.

While this is certainly the most shocking statistic to come out of the study, it is only the tip of the iceberg for Latinos living in this country.

From the Huffington post:

One in seven Latinos are reporting ethnic discrimination in finding or keeping a job and 10% said the same thing about housing. But the most stunning finding is that nearly one-in-ten Hispanic adults–native-born US citizens and immigrants alike–report that, in the past year, the police or other authorities have stopped them and asked them about their immigration status. One in ten Latinos were stopped and asked for “papers.” What can that statistic represent other than a gross abuse of power by federal and local authorities?

Vicious public denunciations of undocumented, brown-skinned immigrants — once limited to hard-core white supremacists and a handful of border-state extremists — are increasingly common among supposedly mainstream anti-immigration activists, media pundits, and politicians and are surely fueling the problems that Latinos are facing.

While their dehumanizing rhetoric typically stops short of openly sanctioning bloodshed, much of it implicitly encourages or even endorses violence by characterizing immigrants from Mexico and Central America as ‘invaders,’ ‘criminal aliens,’ and ‘cockroaches.’

The hate speech that is fueling the current anti-migrant fervor has somehow left the area of “hard core” or “extremist” thought and trickled into the mainstream, becoming pervasive on shows like Lou Dobbs Tonight or Bill O’Reilly and pushed by hate groups like FAIR.

We must stand up to the powers that want to dehumanize and entire portion of the population.

Living in fear of deportation and discrimination and worrying about your livelihood and safety is no way to live and it’s certainly not how Americans expect to live. In fact, it’s the sort of life that our forefathers sought to protect us from. Debate, discussion, and disagreement around the pressing immigration issue are natural, legitimate, and necessary. Hate, fear and vitriol rhetoric are not.

Update: Mexican’s Death Bares a Town’s Ethnic Tension

The New York Times has picked up the story of the fatal beating of Luis Ramirez in Shenandoah, PA.

In an article from yesterday, the Times explores the ethnic tensions that have been brought out by the murder and Shenandoah’s proximity to Hazelton, where an anti-immigrant measure was passed last year.

The article also notes that this case may be a tipping point in the push back on hate crimes against Latinos.

The case has raised similar concerns among Latinos across the country.

“For many Latinos, this is a case of enough is enough,” said Gladys Limón, a staff lawyer for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. “And it can help us get attention to the wider issue that this is happening all over the country, not just to illegal immigrants, but legal, and anyone who is perceived to be Latino.”