MALDEF CALLS ON TEXAS GOVERNOR TO AVOID FURTHER CIVIL RIGHTS ABUSES AND RECONSIDER RISKY BORDER PLAN
SAN ANTONIO , TX – Today, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the nation’s leading Latino legal organization, called on Texas Governor Rick Perry to reconsider implementing a risky border watch program that is unproductive at best and could promote racial profiling. The plan places surveillance cameras on private homes and ranches along the Texas-Mexico border and allows anyone with Internet access anywhere in the world to claim they have seen undocumented aliens.
“The Perry plan is equal parts George Orwell and Orson Welles. It’s not responsible or constructive,” stated John Trasviña, MALDEF Interim President and General Counsel.
Nina Perales , MALDEF Southwest Regional Counsel, stated, “Local law enforcement and private citizens are not authorized, trained, or equipped to enforce federal immigration laws. Improper enforcement by unqualified private individuals will lead to more problems for federal law enforcement that will have to respond to false alarms, frivolous allegations, and racial profiling.”
According to the Governor’s plan, the surveillance cameras will have night-vision capabilities, and the video feed will be available 24 hours a day to state, local and federal law enforcement agencies. People who believe they have seen criminal activity will be able to call a toll-free number and be routed to a law enforcement agency. However, the program does not protect against fraudulent reporting and would allow persons anywhere in the world to “report” illegal border crossings on their home computers. Governor Perry’s plan thus opens the door for wasted tax-payer dollars as police officers would be forced to chase the fabrications of intolerant individuals.
MALDEF is aware of increased reports of civil rights violations along the border by local law enforcement and is concerned the Governor’s plans will result in further civil rights and privacy violations, as well as incite fear and tensions along the Texas border community.
“Rather than untrained enforcement by state, local and private individuals, MALDEF supports a bi-partisan and realistic approach to comprehensive immigration reform that will result in safer communities, proper enforcement of immigration laws, and a long term solution to our broken immigration system,” stated Luis Figueroa, MALDEF legislative staff attorney.
Founded in 1968, MALDEF, the nation’s leading Latino legal organization, promotes and protects the rights of Latinos through advocacy, litigation, community education and outreach, leadership development, and higher education scholarships. For more information on MALDEF, please visit: http://www.maldef.org
Press Release received via email.