Thursday, May 29, 2008

Three small but needed victories

Often times, it seems as though the tide of public policy and events continues to rise against Hispanic families and workers.

The amount of disrespect and inhumanity showed to these hard-working and church-going people seems to reach a new depth each week. And the lack of TV media coverage of these outrages only ensures change will be more difficult to bring about. Just as during the Civil Rights movement, it took whites joining with blacks to end injustice. It took Catholics, Jews and Baptists acting as one. It took people from the North and people from the South standing together. First, however, all these different people must be informed and told how to get involved.

For now, let us take solace and encouragement from three small but important victories.

1) In a suburb of Dallas, a local ordinance prohibiting apartment rental to undocumented workers was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.
AP reported the following: "The ordinance, passed last year, would have required landlords to verify the legal status of applicants. It would have exempted minors and applicants 62 or older from having to prove their immigration status or citizenship. Residents endorsed the measure by two to one in May 2007."
The federal judge said the city and its voters could not create a class of people to be discriminated against. Praise God for the Constitution.

2) The county clerk here in Nashville's Davidson County ended a 10-year ban on marriage licenses to undocumented workers. His decision came after the state attorney general, in reviewing a federal lawsuit brought against the state of Tennessee, sided with the Hispanic plaintiff claiming unequal protection under the law. Gov. Phil Bredesen, supposedly a Democrat, had sided against the Hispanic plaintiff and in favor of continued discrimination.
It's strange, but aren't all the forces pushing for more harsh treatment of undocumented Hispanics supposed to be in favor of family values like love and marriage?

3) John Lamb of reports that state judicial authorities have again reprimanded a Dickson County juvenile court judge in Tennessee, this time for disparate treatment -- including jailing -- of Hispanic children of undocumented workers at three separate hearings. The complaint was brought by local civil rights attorney Jerry Gonzalesz. A reprimand is one step short of ouster. The judge predetermined any Hispanic before his court was illegally here. And when he was challenged, he jailed the children as unruly even though the petition before him made no mention of the youth's conduct, state judicial authorities ruled.

Judge A. Andrew Jackson was previously reprimanded for public intoxication at a juvenile law conference, where he made disparaging remarks about an African-American attendee and the same to a female attendee. See Lamb's in-depth story at

Tell state judicial authorities what you think of Judge Jackson. Send an e-mail to: Be respectful to Ms. Allison, however. She is a nice person and is only the public information officer for the courts. Aim your comments at state judicial authorities and ask her to forward your e-mail to them.

Yes, these three victories are very small when set against the outrages in Postville from the ICE raid and the terror in Nashville from the 287(g) deportation program. But we must continue to hope, because economic and moral right are on our side.

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