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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Immigration > No Coincidence that Anti-Immigrant Hysteria Results in Latinos Victimized at Highest Levels Ever for Hate Crimes

No Coincidence that Anti-Immigrant Hysteria Results in Latinos Victimized at Highest Levels Ever for Hate Crimes

LatinaLista — Last month, the FBI released their annual report on hate crimes.

If you didn’t hear, hate crimes against Latinos is up. In fact, 62.8% of hate crimes were categorized as being perpetuated by an offender who had an anti-Hispanic bias.
Of the offenders who committed these hate crimes, 58.6% were white.
Since the report doesn’t break out for ethnicity when it comes to offenders, there’s no way of knowing if or how many Latinos are categorized as “white.”
Yet, it’s a safe assumption that the number is small.
We only need to read the headlines to confirm these assumptions.


Stories have always existed about those police officers, who instead of doing their public duty to protect the public, are shaking down Latinos.
The latest story is that of a former Washington police officer who confessed to targeting Hispanic motorists.

Prosecutors say back in November and December of 2005, Hilsinger stopped Hispanic motorists for minor traffic violations. Instead of merely asking for their drivers licenses, they say Hilsinger took their entire wallets. The feds say on the first occasion the officer stole $60, while the second time he took $40.
Then in September of 2006, prosecutors say again Hilsinger targeted Hispanic drivers and stole money, only this time the victim was an undercover police officer. On those occasions, $220 and $120 were taken.

However, it’s not just at traffic stops where Latinos are victimized.
Also, at bus stops Latinos are being targeted.
Hispanic businesses are reporting higher than average burglaries.

Samira Ramirez
(Source: The Dallas Morning News)

And in a Plano, Texas high school, a young Latina was a target of a beating by fellow white classmates as she got off the school bus.
She doesn’t know why, but the senselessness of the beating has the earmarks of something more than just a fight for lunch money or over a boy.
The family is pursuing charges against the kids who beat Samira.

“As a family, we just expect the police to do the right thing,” Aracely Ramirez (Samira’s mother) said through a Spanish translator Friday. “It’s for everyone’s safety.”

Unfortunately, as long as the anti-Latino/immigrant rhetoric continues at the same level, safety will become a scarce commodity for all Latinos, and the trust people have in authority to do what is right will dissolve.

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Comment(14)

  • Avatar
    flower
    December 6, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    Despues de escuchar, leer y ver las difamaciones contra los immigrantes solo queda un camino que es la via legal. demandarlos por difamacion y violencia verbal.
    Este senor Marcos gutierrez (www.marcosgutierrez.com) esta haciendo un proyecto llamado Agora Media que consiste en DEMANDAR legalmente a Michael Salvage, Tancredo y otros antiimgrantes que vilmente hablan mal de la comunidad latina. El es locutor de la radio 10:10am (hecho en california) y se ve que realmente quiere ayudar a la comunidad juntando abogados y demandando para que les cueste dinero a toda persona que quiera denigrar al immigrante. Es parecido a los judios, donde se unieron y si alguien habla mal de ellos inmediatamente lo enjuician. Ya basta ya de ofender a la comunidad latina, levantemos la cara y luchemos por nuestra dignidad y respeto, asi como hicieron los judios.
    Puesto que esto requiere dinero, estan aceptando enviar cheques, money orders dirigidos a:
    Agora Media
    La direccion es:
    695 5th #9
    San Francisco, CA. 94107
    Este dinero sera para aperturar una organizacion no lucrativa y demandar a estas personas (ya se cuenta con abogado dispuesto a iniciar este proceso legal)

  • Avatar
    Frank
    December 7, 2007 at 7:19 am

    flower, Tancredo nor most Americans are not anti-immigrant. They oppose illegal aliens being in our country. There is a difference you know

  • Avatar
    jasonthe
    December 9, 2007 at 2:39 am

    Actually, recent polls even show that a majority of Americans aren’t even concerned about illegal immigrants, or the “immigration issue” being pushed so hard by conservatives, but rather want to focus on the Iraq War.
    This post is upsetting, in that it drives home the cost of this xenophobic hate-speech the Republicans are spinning to distract from the war their President has mired us in, and that their rhetoric is fueling racism and fear.
    We have a post on the immigration polls and more on “academic racism” in our media establisments here: http://thesidetrack.blogspot.com/2007/12/academic-racists.html
    and here:
    http://thesidetrack.blogspot.com/2007/12/campaign-2008-framing-argument.html

  • Avatar
    Frank
    December 9, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    jason, you are wrong. The Iraq war may be the number one issue on American’s minds today but illegal immigration is in the top 3-5 on their minds.
    Xenophobic hate speech? What is that? A xenophobic is someone who fears strangers unnecessarily. There is no fear of strangers per se. It is about the violation of our immigration laws by millions and millions and our borders not being secured. If there is any fear of anything, I would think that it is justified in those two cases.
    What hate speech? If you think we should join hands with immigration law breakers who don’t even belong in this country and sing kumbaya with them, and if we don’t that makes us haters, then you have a screwed up idea of what hate is.
    The illegal immigration issue is not a racist issue with the majority of Americans. They want ALL illegals gone, not just a certain ethnic group. The race card is what you pro-illegals use because you have nothing else.

  • Avatar
    jasonthe
    December 10, 2007 at 3:45 am

    Frank,
    You say I am wrong, then agree? Confusing.
    The polls clearly show that Americans are more concerned about foreign policy issues and the Iraq War (and by proxy, it is assumed the abandoned war on terror) than they are the “immigration problem.”
    And xenophobia is the irrational fear of “others” not necessarily strangers, and in this debate, it makes a difference. What I am asserting, if you clicked on the links I provided, is simply that the conservatives have thrust this “crisis” on America in an attempt to skew the criticism and debate they would face for aligning themselves with the President on the war, and his blundered foreign policy.
    It is an expected and shrewd political move, but as is detailed in this post, the rhetoric has human consequences.
    Illegal immigration and all of the back-woods, moronic “they took our jobs!” and “they’re bleeding our system” talk is simply that. Talk. Fed to millions by pundits and politicians who are campaigning on fear. Fear of “others (xenophobia) and fear of the “invasion” (pure stupidity). Statistics don’t back up the argument that illegal aliens raise crime rates, overtax school systems, or drain our public resources.
    Our borders will never be air-tight. Our immigration system will never be fool-proof. But ratcheting up the rhetoric in such an irrational way (especially for selfish political gain) is something the candidates (on both sides) should be ashamed of.
    Thank you, though, for completely missing my point, and allowing me to vent this frustration again.

  • Avatar
    jasonthe
    December 10, 2007 at 3:49 am

    Frank,
    You say I am wrong, then agree? Confusing.
    The polls clearly show that Americans are more concerned about foreign policy issues and the Iraq War (and by proxy, it is assumed the abandoned war on terror) than they are the “immigration problem.”
    And xenophobia is the irrational fear of “others” not necessarily strangers, and in this debate, it makes a difference. As example, how many times have you heard some hick on TV waylaying the “danger” of Canadians sneaking into Detroit? What I am asserting, if you had bothered to read, and click on the links I provided, is simply that the conservatives have thrust this “crisis” on America in an attempt to skew the criticism and debate they would face for aligning themselves with the President on the war, and his blundered foreign policy.
    It is an expected and shrewd political move, but as is detailed in this post, the rhetoric has human consequences.
    Illegal immigration and all of the back-woods, moronic “they took our jobs!” and “they’re bleeding our system” talk is simply that. Talk. Fed to millions by pundits and politicians who are campaigning on fear. Fear of “others (xenophobia) and fear of the “invasion” (pure stupidity). Statistics don’t back up the argument that illegal aliens raise crime rates, overtax school systems, or drain our public resources.
    Our borders will never be air-tight. Our immigration system will never be fool-proof. But racheting up the fear, paranoia, and bigotry in such an irrational way (often only for political gain) is something the candidates (on both sides) should be ashamed of. While failing to recognize the effects our way of debating this issue have on human beings, is something YOU and I should be ashamed of. Our borders are not more important than the lives of an other human being.
    Thank you, though, for completely missing my point, and allowing me to vent this frustration again.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    December 10, 2007 at 7:52 am

    Nothing confusing, Jason. You stated that illegal immigration isn’t even on the minds of most Americans. That is where you are wrong.
    You are also wrong if you think that most Americans are only up in arms about the illegal immigration problem in this country because some media journalists or politicians have been discussing the problem a lot. Americans have eyes. They see for themselves what is going on around them. They can see the demographic changes going on. They can see our overcrowded schools, jails and hospitals and the huge numbers of people not speaking English anymore. They can see the declining of wages and the competition from these illegals for blue collar jobs now.
    Americans know what a danger it is to have unsecured borders too. Americans want to return to being a nation of laws and legal immigration that doesn’t put our jobs and natural resources at risk. We have 300 million people in this country now and we see illegal aliens with high birthrates coming here in droves now.
    No, Jason we woke up all on our own by using our eyes. There is no bigotry involved for most Americans in this issue. It is just the race card that you and yours like to pull because you have no valid arguments.
    Yes, we are a humane country but we can only take in so many of the world’s poor without seriously impacting our country and it’s citizen negatively. Where is you humanity for that?

  • Avatar
    jasonthe
    December 10, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    “Me and Mine” Frank? Pray tell, what the hell are you talking about?
    The immigration debate may be on the minds of Americans, but as the polls I linked to show, the Iraq War takes a higher level of importance.
    Yet how often have you heard the Republican candidates address the war, as opposed to immigration? How many Op-Eds have you read recently discussing our future in the middle-east, as opposed to immigration?
    As the original post here points out, HUMAN BEINGS are falling victim to discrimination, bigotry, and often even physical assault because of the immigration rhetoric those of you who “woke up on your own” are throwing around.
    Our borders are no more or less secure now than 50 years ago. The risks are no greater now than 50 years ago.
    But what I am getting at here is something you can ask yourself, and, if you answer yourself honestly make the realization; which border do you think about when you say there is a “danger” to unsecured borders, our North border? No, you are referring to our southern border.
    So don’t tell me there is no bigotry here.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    December 10, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    “You and yours” are those who are pro-illegal immigration. I already agreed that the Iraq war is the number one issue on the minds of Americans but you said that illegal immigration wasn’t even on the minds of the majority of Americans at all. Maybe you should re-read your own post.
    Uh, jason the reason that the war isn’t being discussed much by the Repubs is because this war started under the Repub administration. They don’t want to admit that they made a mistake. Kind of a no-brainer on that one.
    These human beings you keep referring to broke the law by entering our country illegally. The fact that they are human beings has no relevance in the matter. Human beings even go to jail when they commit crimes. Are you opposed to that just because they are “human beings”? Illegals should be discriminated against. The fact that they are of the human species is not of any relevance. It is their act of breaking the law that we are oopposed to.
    I beg to differ that the risks of unsecured borders is no more than they were 50 years ago. We become more and more hated as a nation with each passing day by certain radical groups and nations.
    I think we are at risk by both of our borders being unsecured. If I had my way we would be putting up a fence along both borders. But the reason our southern border is discussed more is because there have been 12-20 million illegal aliens that have gotten thru that way. That isn’t true at our northern border. The FBI director has already admitted that OTM’S from known terrorist countries are slipping thru our southern border and disappeared into our country.
    There is no bigotry on the part of most Americans in regards to the illigel immigration issue. You are taking one small fraction of those who may be bigots and blowing it all out of proportion. What part of the rule of law don’t you understand?

  • Avatar
    EYES OF TEXAS
    December 12, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    You’ll like this one.
    An off duty anglo fireman went into a Mexican eatery to get some take-out. He was confronted by five or six Mexican men telling him that they didn’t want a gringo in their place. The fireman tried to explain that he only wanted to order some food, but the confronters became more verbal and threatening. The fireman, not wanting to cause a ruckus, turned to leave and got stabbed in the back. He ran from the place, after being stabbed several more times as the Mexicans shouted more racial slurs. A fire house was about two blocks away, so he ran in that direction, being chased and stabbed some more. Only after reaching the fire house did he find help as the Mexicans ran away.
    This happened not on the border, but in Boston Mass. of all places. The incident, truely a racial hate crime, will never be charged as one. Why? Because the victim was of the wrong race. Only non-whites seem to be protected by hate crime laws and that is wrong.

  • Avatar
    Duncan
    December 12, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    What is wrong is your assessment of what Hispanics (and other minorities) experience, the frequency of the events, and the overall effect discrimination and bigotry can have on a person’s quality of life.
    While the incident you describe is most definitely a hate crime, you expose your own lack of intelligence by choosing, I assume for a reason, to post about it on this blogpost about discrimination. What happened to the fireman is a tragedy, and saddens me to read, but I have to assume you are making a broader point here, which I also have to assume is that hate crime laws only protect minorities, and you know what, you are correct.
    But your lack of understanding as to why they must do so is as much part of the problem with our bigoted and discriminatory, and un-Christ-like way of treating Hispanics, Blacks, Gays, and Women as the original purveyors of such crimes. Hate crimes laws are meant to protect minorities simply because minorities experience situations like what you describe much more often than caucasian males do.
    It is really very simple, but still surprises me how simpled-minded people can be. And I find your comment here just that, simple-minded, and spiteful.
    Which is not a Christian trait.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    December 12, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    Marisa,
    Be careful how of how you resort to isolated annecdotal reports of hate crimes against Hispanics. Every day I read newspaper reports on illegal aliens committing crimes against citizens. Using such reports I could easiliy make a case, however specious, that illegal aliens are killing citizens at an alarming rate. You could very well be found guilty of making exaggerated claims that could be used to discredit you. The same standards that you use to judge others should be used to evaluate your credibility. Just because you believe in the righteousness of your cause doesn’t mean that the end justifies the means.

  • Avatar
    Marisa Treviño
    December 13, 2007 at 8:49 am

    Thank you, Horace. You’re right. I will take that into future consideration.
    Marisa

  • Avatar
    EYES OF TEXAS
    December 13, 2007 at 9:10 am

    I was using the firemans attack as an example of how some laws do not seem to apply to everyone. Do we now have laws, like hate crimes, that apply only to certain special groups of people? If so, in my simple-minded way, these laws should be labeled as such. In that way, I will be able to ignore those laws that do not apply to me.
    These postings are about discrimination and hate crimes and my posting is only one example of how they are a two way street. My post was not meant to be spiteful, only informative and thought provoking in my agnostic sort of way.

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