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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Message Sent/Message Received

Steve and Vanessa Lopez

Inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty are the
words - - "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses
yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your
teeming shore. Send these, the homeless,

tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden

I propose erecting signs with the following message at
each of the Frederick County lines with the following
message. "Whether you're here, right or wrong,
Unless you are White and Christian you don't belong.
We don't want you crossing the Frederick County line.
If we catch you, we're going to shoot you back to
where you came from. We have 287(g) and the Criminal
Alien Program to light your way out.

I just don't feel welcome here anymore. What happened?
My feelings are a result of several recent events in
Frederick County, Maryland. The words and actions of
Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, and the
Walkersville Town council make me feel unwelcome in my
own community.

Without a public discussion, the Frederick County
Sheriff's Office signed a Memorandum of Agreement with
the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) which
delegates 287(g) and Criminal Alien Program authority
to ten Frederick County sheriff's deputies and sixteen
corrections officers. Sheriff Jenkins' justification
is that his constituents support his efforts. Funny,
English may be my second language, but when I looked
up the word constituent in the dictionary it is
defined as a resident of a district or member of a
group represented by an elected official.

I guess that makes me and my wife Sheriff Jenkins' constituents.
Yeah the Sheriff is meeting with his constituents in
Thurmont, Braddock Heights, Sabillasville, etc.. to
hear their concerns. There seems to be a noticeable
trend where the Sheriff is visiting places where the
population is at least 94% White.

Although the Sheriff assures us that there will not be
any racial profiling of Hispanics and Latinos. He said
that ICE supervision will help ensure that profiling
doesn't occur. However, actions speak louder than
words. Sheriff Jenkins has on several occasions asked
people in meetings whether they were "illegal". He
only asks this to people that aren't obviously Anglo.
He has yet to ask anyone with a fair complexion the
same question.

Telling me that deputies and corrections officers will
be supervised by ICE, is disconcerting. Just check out
Assistant Secretary of ICE, Julie Myers, posing with
the winner of a Halloween Costume Contest held for ICE

ICE supervising the Sheriff's Office use of the 287(g)
and the Criminal Alien Program only assures me that
profiling, discrimination, and harassment of minority
residents will be rampant. I believe that profiling
will be the primary mechanism for rounding "them" up
and "shooting them back".

Another turn of events that concerns me was the action
of the Walkersville Town Council in Frederick County,
which voted to deny the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's
request to build a recreational and worship center in
Walkersville, Maryland. The reason given is that the
construction of the center would create undue hardship
on the area and that there are insufficient hotels.

Oh really? There are plenty of hotels along Route 15 and
in Frederick, ten minutes away... Now if this were a
some type of Christian Mega Church wanting to build
the same size and type of structure for a comparable
type of use... well now we'd be talking about a whole
different matter. We would probably be hearing about
how this is a tremendous economic opportunity, and we
would probably be breaking ground as I write this column.

Just because I feel unwelcome, doesn't mean I'm going
to move my family. I do think racism, prejudice and
intolerance are learned. Maybe Frederick County
Schools should consider providing diversity education
to all students. Until we live in a fair and just
community; my wife and I choose to stand up to the
forces of intolerance, racism, and prejudice in
Frederick County.


Anonymous said...

Amen to the message from this brave couple. I'd be afraid to say the same thing in the News-Post for fear of profiling. I've lived her for 28 years and seen a tremendous change for the worse. About the only think we don't have still is an chapter of the KKK, but maybe what we have now is worse.

Anonymous said...

"I'd be afraid to say the same thing in the News-Post for fear of profiling."

Yes, it does happen.