Alameda County Supervisor Haggerty’s ‘You Don’t Know Me’ Speech Is A Classic

“You Don’t Know Me!”: Supervisor Scott Haggerty.
PHOTO/Shane Bond

ALCO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS | “You don’t know me,” said Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty on Tuesday. Over and over he repeated the line to those critical of his vote against a resolution discouraging county cooperation with Secure Communities, a controversial federal program critics say target undocumented residents.

His 10-minute long remarks were often times theatrical. Haggerty’s elocution was impeccable. “You don’t know me!” he again said forcefully, before dramatically pausing. Followed by an almost whispered, “You don’t know me.

The speech, an instant classic in these parts, is long and winding, often disjointed. At one point proclaiming support for immigrants. “I know about them,” he said. “Fun to work with–not for–but to work with. You don’t know me.” Other times he said Secure Communities also protects Hispanics sitting in church from terrorists. It’s one hot mess of a speech. Here’s a transcript of Haggerty’s remarks:
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You don’t know me. You don’t know me. I probably have just as many undocumented friends as you do. Because when I walk out of these chambers, you have no idea where I go. You don’t know what I do. In fact, I had several conversations with my undocumented friends yesterday and, in fact, I have a friend who is married to an undocumented woman. I see the fear they walk in everyday.

You don’t know me. But, I actually talk to them in an effort to do my homework and I’m sorry, again, that I was singled out because I wanted more information. I wanted knowledge. That’s wrong? That’s wrong that I wanted a continuance so I could learn more? So I could spend time talking to the people that I know are undocumented? I don’t think that is wrong. Some people may.

You don’t know me. You don’t know that I walk upon hundreds of undocumented people working and I’m really sorry that today this has been made a Hispanic issue because, you know what? The undocumented’s that I walk amongst are largely Hispanic and you know what I know about them? They’re hard-working. I know that about them—a great sense of humor. I know that about them. Fun to work with—not for–but to work with. You don’t know me. You don’t know where I go when I leave here. So, you shouldn’t prejudge me as I won’t prejudge you. This is a very emotional issue for me.

The problem that I have today is we are passing a resolution—we had a lady come down today and speak against you. She spoke against you and you applauded her…and that’s my fear because you think if we pass this resolution today that there’s no more SComm in Alameda County. Wrong! There sheriff is going to do whatever he wants. This is symbolic. This means nothing! This means that they passed a resolution on a piece of paper that was nothing but words because he’s still going to enforce it. And we can’t tell him what to do. We’re the Board of Supervisors. He is an elected official, too. So what scares is that the people who applauded at the lady who came down and spoke also believes that we are doing something today. We are doing nothing! This was a waste of time. This was a farce and, in fact, I would have much rather marched on Washington, D.C.—to the White House—with you today. I would have rather marched in Congressman Swalwell’s office, Congressman Honda’s office—a noted progressive—Congressman Barbara Lee and said, look this is what SComm is doing, this is why it’s bad and this is why it’s hurting the Hispanic communities, but instead we decided to sit here and pass something that means nothing.

Don’t tell me you know me. But, you know what? It may be a situation where somebody comes into our jail and I’m sorry, I’ve spent time learning about this, and I can tell on this own board up here, people don’t understand it, but quite frankly, your prints are not here, but they could be somewhere elese and you could be a known terrorist. The chance that happens in the Hispanic community—extremely slim—I get that. But, what if the sheriff actually brings someone in and let’s them go and they blow up a church with your family in it? Then what do we do? The Hispanic community that largely lives in Alameda County are good, great people, but they need to be protected too from the criminals. Because when they sit in churches, they want to sit there and know they’re safe and they deserve that.

I want to be clear; I am not anti-immigration. I don’t care if you’re from Mexico, Bosnia, China, Africa, you want to be here? Why do you want to be here? The same reason why my family, when they immigrated from Ireland, wanted to be here. We wanted the American Dream and I wanted to help each and every one of you get that, but I’m going to tell you, you don’t get it today! You get a piece of paper that is meaningless. So, no, I’m not going to vote for the resolution. You probably expected it, but you know what? Do you want me to march with you for immigration reform? You want me to take you to congressman’s offices? I will do it, but I’m not going to pass meaningless pieces of paper that tell another elected official in this county what to do. I will not do it. I will not give you that false sense of security.

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