This blogger has been a fan of Bill White for a long time. Even before he announced his first mayoral run, I was talking him up with much excitement, and I’ll never forget how he was the only mayoral candidate to make his way to visit with the Kingwood Area Democrats for our July 4th Picnic during that season. I guess one could say that I was a loyal supporter.
Now, that loyalty has worn thin as he seeks higher office. All of a sudden, he wants to use a federal issue to push up his candidacy, and even seem tough on immigrants. It seems White hasn’t been reading the news and how his Latino base is up in arms about the 287g program, which basically “federalizes” local cops to do immigration work.
Houston Mayor Bill White sent a letter this week to a top U.S. immigration official requesting that the federal government expedite Houston’s participation in the controversial 287 (g) program that trains jailers to act as immigration agents.
In the letter, dated Monday, White also says he will be urging “other jail custodians” in the Houston region to enter into agreements with the federal government. See the letter from Mayor White here.
The rush for a 287 (g) agreement marks a departure from the mayor’s past position that local police should have limited involvement in immigration enforcement.
Recently, the Latino political leadership in Washington has stepped up efforts to have President Obama halt the 287g program, as well as investigate civil rights violators like “Sheriff Joe” from Arizona. For some of us, 287g is simply an excuse for racial profiling. And Arpaio is known for not only parading immigrants in front of the media, he is also known to automatically deport those who commit crimes, such as jaywalking and driving without a license. On top of that, he sends out patrols to Latino neighborhoods. Meanwhile, the real crime rate skyrockets.
White should show leadership and join those of us who want 287g ended, want the raids ended, and want comprehensive immigration reform.
All I can tell Mayor White is…tread lightly. Because Latino activists are noticing and we’re not liking it much. Plus, it seems the right-wing is noticing, too.