Latinos: Houston Police Policy On Citizenship “Hostile”


The Houston Police Department’s new policy requiring officers to ask anyone arrested for a misdemeanor whether they are a U.S. citizen has immigrants on edge as they seek to understand what the change means for them, reports the Houston Chronicle. “The climate today is one of terror in the community. You can feel the tension,” said Teodoro Aguiluz of Central American Resource Center (CRECEN). Houston police spokesman Gabriel Ortiz told a forum yesterday, “None of our officers are going to detain someone because they believe that person is here illegally. If you are ever in that situation report it, because the police are not supposed to do that.”

CRECEN is working with the police department on how to present complaints of improper procedures so that they will be investigated. Ortiz urged not being afraid to talk to police. “I know a lot of people are victims of crime or witnesses of crime. Don’t stop reporting it. Don’t think police are going to ask for your status,” Ortiz said. Immigrants-rights activist María Jimenez said since immigration reform became a polarizing national issue, Houston’s Latinos have “had to continue to contend with anti-immigrant sentiments,” including verbal abuse. “Add to that the changes within the police department and I think the people are feeling an onslaught in terms of a very hostile environment.”


Comments are closed.