Nov 24, 2009

thinking more about hate crimes laws - LA building more ICE detention centers

this image kinda totally freaks me out and it's like from the government's website...
published by the Center for Investigative Reporting (11/12/09):

ICE moving forward with Los Angeles-area immigration center lock-up
The federal agency that oversees immigration detention will solicit bids next month for a new 2,200-bed detention center in the Los Angeles area. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, posted an online notice this week stating that it intends to open bids on Dec. 15 for a contractor to own and operate a low-custody detention facility for men. The facility would be one of the largest immigration lock-ups in the country.

Continuing a policy pushed under the Bush administration, the Obama team has moved to deport more criminal aliens, which has also driven a need for more bed space. Los Angeles County is one of the first counties in California to participate in ICE’s Secure Communities program, which screens the immigration status of all booked inmates. Several dozen counties, mostly along the Southwest border, participate in the program, which will be rolled out nationwide over the next few years.

ICE announced today that its Secure Communities initiative identified more than 111,000 criminal aliens in local custody during its first year. From the press release:
Since its inception in October 2008, Secure Communities has identified more than 11,000 aliens charged or convicted with Level 1 crimes, such as murder, rape and kidnapping—1,900 of which have already been removed from the United States—and more than 100,000 aliens convicted of Level 2 and 3 crimes, including burglary and serious property crimes.

more about Secure Communities (gov website)

thinking along the lines of criminal deportation initaitives, i remember that i wanted to call attention to the fact that recently Silvia Rivera Law Project came out in opposition to the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. you can read ALL ABOUT THAT HERE. i mention this in relation to the above image/news beacuse i'm thinking about how intensely interlocked criminal/incarceration and immigration/deportation issues are in Los Angeles. so i just wanted to put them side by side to see how they talk to each other. i know it's controversial and upsetting for most of us gay and trans folks to imagine opposing hate crimes laws. however as an organization SRLP works to "understand mass imprisonment as a primary vector of violence in the lives of our constituents" and they "belive that hate crimes legislation is a counterproductive response to the violence faced by LGBT people." here are some of their very compelling reasons:

Already, the U.S. incarcerates more people per capita than any other nation in the world. ONE OUT OF EVERY 32 PEOPLE [my emphasis] in the U.S. live under criminal punishment system supervision. African-American people are six times more likely to be incarcerated than white people; Latin people are twice as likely to be incarcerated as white people.  LGBTS and queer people, transgender people, and poor people are also at greatly increased risk for interaction with the criminal justice system.  It is clear that this monstrous system of laws and enforcement specifically targets marginalized communities, particularly people of color.

What hate crimes laws do is expand and increase the power of the same unjust and corrupt criminal punishment system. Evidence demonstrates that hate crimes legislation, like other criminal punishment legislation, is used unequally and improperly against communities that are already marginalized in our society...

The evidence also shows that hate crime laws and other “get tough on crime” measures do not deter or prevent violence.  Increased incarceration does not deter others from committing violent acts motivated by hate, does not it rehabilitate those who have committed past acts of hate, and does not make anyone safer. As we see trans people profiled by police, disproportionately arrested and detained, caught in systems of poverty and detention, and facing extreme violence in prisons, jails and detention centers, we believe that this system itself is a main perpetrator of violence against our communities.

umm what can i say i hear you.

just thinking about all this stuff after having just participated in LA's Transgender Day of Rememberance, which was BEAUTFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL. (omg separate post about the BEAUTY, people) but also feeling bittersweet about the valence of our gesture of marching through the center of west hollywood, with all the pomp and circumstance of city officials and cops shepherding the way - and wondering how these activities sync up with potentially radical trans politics. or really WAY MORE importantly, whether these actions really help us to grieve - because healthy grieving for us needs to create a space for RAGE... repressive greiving leads only to melancholia...

i want to think more about our emotions in these types of officiated spaces (thinkin bout the LAPD forum in trans violence and the paulina ibarra press conference) so more on that soon.

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