LIMA, Ohio— Today, The ACLU of Ohio called on Allen County Sheriff Dan Beck to end recent practices of his department that have unfairly targeted Americans of Mexican descent. Beginning in August 2005, officers began pulling over people who appeared to be of Mexican heritage and asking for their identification and any immigration paperwork. Beck justified this as attempts to locate undocumented immigrants.
Several concerned community members contacted the Mexican Consulate in Detroit, Michigan regarding the racial profiling occurring in Allen County. The Consul, Antonio Meza, responded by penning a letter to Beck cautioning him to not implement racial profiling techniques and offering to meet with the sheriff to talk further about both of their concerns. Beck reacted by calling for increased pressure on the Mexican community in Lima.
ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link said, “Countless police departments have spoken out against racial profiling and have recognized that it is ineffective in truly combating crime.”
Link went on, “Profiling a person merely by the color of their skin will likely result in countless Americans of Mexican descent being unduly stopped and interrogated by police, which will only encourage them to implicitly mistrust law enforcement.”
Beck has now publicly stated that he intends to ask U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for his department officers to be deputized by the federal government, giving them increased powers to enforce immigration laws.
Link added, “Sheriff Beck’s actions are extremely dangerous to the community in Lima. Instead of promoting fear and paranoia by targeting a specific group of people based on their ethnic heritage, Beck should be working to unite the community and promote greater understanding between all people regardless of race.”
Anyone who believes they may have been improperly stopped or treated on the basis of their appearance should send a one-page letter to: ACLU of Ohio; 4506 Chester Ave.; Cleveland, OH 44103. The ACLU may also be contacted by calling (216)472-2200 or by e-mailing email@example.com.