Hayward Latinos Voice Concern Over Federal Anti-Illegal Immigration Program

Dec. 19, 2011 | The Department of Homeland Security cracked down on Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio last week for his often times overzealous use of a controversial federal program that tends to target Latinos–regardless of their immigration status.

Half of those deported had no record
of criminal offenses.

The possibility of local law enforcement undermining the public trust among Latinos in ways Arpaio has achieved in Arizona has ignited hysteria among minorities and has some Hayward council members worried a similar sense of fear exists in their city.

At issue is the use of a federal program that forces local police to forward finger prints to a county hub, which in turn is added to a federal repository of biometric information.

The program, called Secure Communities, is an offshoot of the Patriot Act and is currently used in 44 states, including California. The deadline for the remaining states to comply is 2013 and its immediacy has raised questions over its usefulness among members of both political parties and law enforcement.

Hayward Councilman Francisco Zermeno asked for a report on the city’s compliance and policies in regards to the program after some voices in the Latino community raised questions over whether members of their community risk being ensnared.

“We do not enforce immigration law,” said Hayward Police Chief Diane Urban to allay concerns illegal immigrants could be targeted by Hayward police officers. “We really recognize and truly value our relationships in the community. It is the last thing we want people to do is to be reluctant to speak with us.”

According the U.S. Census, just over 40 percent of Hayward’s population is Latino making it one of the largest Hispanic communities in the entire Bay Area.

Numerous police chief around the country have questioned whether the program may inadvertently do harm to the evidence gathering function of policing. To further the point, Zermeno feared Latinos could be targeted by the manner of their dress and speak or skin color by the law.

“Someone in the city of Hayward would never be arrested solely because they were undocumented,” Hayward City Manager Fran David quickly answered. “There would have to be another reason that brought them to the attention of the police in order for them to be in jail.”

The Department of Homeland Security’s decision last week to revoke access to the fingerprinting database contained within Secure Communities by Arpaio is an admonition by the government that racial-profiling of minorities is occurring, at least in Arizona.

A federal task force found half of the 141,000 illegal immigrants deported using Secure Communities had no criminal convictions. Another sore point among some municipalities is the government reneging on a promise to eventually allow them to opt-out of the program, if they wish.

Zermeno asked about the police department’s own ability to not cooperate with what has become a de facto federal mandate.

“To not forward someones fingerprints really puts us in an untenable position, quite frankly,” said Urban. Otherwise, she added, there would not be any way for the department to know whether a detained individual had a violent history or not, especially if they committed the crime in another region or state.

Categories: Dept Homeland Security, Francisco Zermeno, Hayward, Hayward City Council, immigrants, immigration, latinos, police, secure communities

5 replies

  1. Suppose we had the much talked about “comprehensive immigration reform” with everyone agreeing it is fair and 98% or more of the undocumented being allowed to stay in some classification or other. (I would favor that)

    Then in the year(s) following, what type or style of future immigration enforcement will be acceptable as the next 500,000 new undocumented come over?

    Is anyone willing to have more stringent enforcement for those next thousands and thousands?
    I just wish those opposing any and all enforcement would give us their “acceptable” forms of future enforcement to be implemented after a comprehensive immigration reform takes place.

    I also wonder why Hayward, Oakland, San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area cities have strict and detailed policies about their own hiring of anyone who doesn't have documentation of their right to work in the country.
    They take great steps to ensure that they don't hire anyone who is here illegally and yet want to make every effort to ensure that private firms don't follow the same criteria.

    Essentially if you work for “city hall” your jobs are safe, but if you are a construction worker or carpenter, you'd better just go hang out at the union hall while 75% of the work is being done by subs using workers who don't have papers.

    Government workers safe, private workers at the mercy of a market place where wages and benefits are at the lowest wages that anyone, legal or illegal, will take.
    The race to the bottom with union workers relegated to the sidelines.

    The “other half” of the story that no one in East Bay political circles ever wants to discuss.


  2. Hey Dumb Portagee Tavares. What doesn't your miniscule “brain” understand about “illegal alien”??? I mean have you looked in the mirror?? You look like a Mexican, are you scared you might get deported back to Algeria or wherever your family came from???


  3. Frank Zermeno needs to STFU!!! Deport all these illegals. And yeah you stupid jackass, if the guy is dressed like an illegal, talks like an illegal and looks like an illegal more than likely he's… ILLEGAL!!! Oh wow you stupid Mexican and dumb portagee (interchangable), if 80% of all illegal aliens are Mexican then it only makes sense to go after Mexicans. But then common sense is an alien concept to morons. I wonder how many relatives of Tavares are illegal????


  4. Anonymous, yeah, I was born in a town somewhat near Algeria called Castro Valley.

    As I told one of your Tea Party brethren, the point here is not about illegals in Hayward, but the possibilty law enforcement might pull you over for exactly what you allege–that someone “looks” like an illegal immigrant.


  5. Then you must be shaking in your robes there Steve, because if you wrap a towel around your head you look like some Arab or Moroccan goat herder.


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