Thursday, February 21, 2008

Add 'surname profiling' to jail overcrowding as reason to oppose ICE in Travis Jail

I'd said earlier that arguments to limit jail overcrowding were stronger criticisms than racial profiling of the Travis County Sheriff's new policy to allow federal immigration agents to set up shop in the jail. But Jamie Spencer makes a credible case that the policy could lead to more frequent "surname profiling," potentially capturing US citizen for hours or days based on wrongful supspicions. After all, he reasons:
how does the Travis County Jail (or I should say Sheriff’s Office) make the initial determination that someone is – or may be – an illegal immigrant?

As I’ve pointed out before, criminal defense lawyers in Austin as a group have probably all had the occasional experience where their client has an INS hold on them, even though they are an United States citizen because of their last name.

Surname profiling (i.e., a ‘hispanic’ surname leading to an INS hold) is a more accurate phrase perhaps than racial profiling, but it is unacceptable. Period.

I don’t care if it only takes a few hours, or a few days to ‘clear up the problem’ and release the hold. Any extra time incarcerated because a law enforcement agency thinks you might be here illegally is unconstitutional.
See more on this topic from No Friends With Salad.

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