Saturday, May 09, 2015

Inexplicable Sentiments

The "U visa" program allows undocumented immigrants who are the victims of certain crimes the opportunity to normalize their status in the U.S.. It is designed to encourage the reporting of crimes; obviously, persons fearing deportation are much less likely to call the police if they have to worry that instead of pursuing their attackers, the cops will seek to expel them from the country.

One North Carolina prosecutor, though, is reading in a Latino exception to the law:
[Gaston County District Attorney Locke] Bell said that if a crime victim is Latino and the accused is also Latino, he will not certify visa applications that come through his office. Evelin came to North Carolina from Honduras, and her ex-boyfriend is from Mexico.

Without confirmation from Bell, Evelin and other victims of domestic violence, rape, human trafficking and about two dozen other serious crimes cannot obtain U visas.
This policy came to light in a very explicit manner: after a Honduran immigrant was assaulted by her Mexican ex-boyfriend, she filed a police report and sought a U visa. The request was rejected in quite straight-forward language: "“Assault on a Latino by a Latino is not the rationale for the statute" (needless to say, the statute says absolutely nothing about determining the race of the perpetrator or the victim). Who doesn't care about minority-on-minority crime now?

Now, I know what you're thinking: This sounds a little bit racist! But don't worry! It's not!
Told that some people may view his U visa policy as discriminatory, Bell defended his position. He said he did not understand how anyone could conclude it was racist.

“In my position, I have to make decisions that people don’t like,” Bell said. “This is one of them.”
Well, I'm glad we got that squared away. Honestly, I'm not sure what came over me, thinking that a policy that explicitly discriminates against Latino victims of crimes based on the race of the perpetrator might be racist. It's inexplicable how that thought even entered the mind.

Other people not myself can inquire as to whether Mr. Bell's act constitutes a criminal violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242.

1 comment:

EW said...

"Now, I know what you're thinking: This sounds a little bit racist! But don't worry! It's not!"

What a fine lawyer you are: I'm utterly persuaded that this is not a little bit racist.