News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, JULY 24, 2005


Hispanic workers losers if violent gangs continue

Decatur residents and police will watch carefully what takes place in Shelby County as the federal government digs deeper into allegations of Hispanic gangs operating there.

That's because, like so many other small communities across America, we have a problem with Hispanic gangs.

In April, Police Chief Joel Gilliam asked a gathering at Austinville United Methodist Church to give him 30 days to show results.

The problem appeared to be concentrated in a Southwest Decatur area that includes Austinville.

The chief downplayed calling his department's response a crackdown, but what police have done apparently has lessened the problem, or driven it underground.

Like in Shelby County, Decatur, with the help of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, detained a number of Hispanics last week for deportation.

Shelby rounded up 30.

A federal investigation in Shelby County, or anywhere, is bound to turn up more than gang activity. If the probe is thorough, it will also expose countless illegal workers. Thus, it is incumbent on the growing Hispanic communities to cooperate with police to get rid of gangs if they want to be left alone.

Isabel Rubio, executive director of the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, says apprehension is mounting among her constituents as the Shelby probe widens. She protested what she called racial profiling.

The perception is that more Hispanics in Alabama are illegal aliens than there are documented workers. Thus, racial profiling is hardly an appropriate protestation. But illegal workers who abide by all other laws don't have much to fear because the federal government can't deal with deporting so many.

The government is after the gang members, thieves and, those who commit sex crimes.

So instead of using the old dodge of racial profiling, Ms. Rubio should be encouraging Hispanics to form their equivalent of neighborhood watch programs to help eliminate gangs and crime.

Leave feedback
on this or