Friday, December 28, 2007

Hispanic Business Owners Unfairly Targeted in Northwest Arkansas

Northwest Arkansas has always been a Republican stronghold while the rest of the state usually swings the opposite direction. Not surprisingly, aside from some diversity in the Fayetteville area, thanks to the University of Arkansas, the area has always been overwhelmingly white and bland -- particularly Benton County just north of Fayetteville, home base of Wal-Mart.

For the past decade or so, population growth in the region has been staggering. More people, more jobs, and with that, an influx of people bringing much-needed change to the area. Sadly, multi-cultural acceptance doesn't seem to be one of the changes.

One Hispanic family establishing a chain of Mexican restaurants in the area are experiencing some rather unpleasant harassment. From the Morning News:
“To lose one’s home and/or livelihood and to be unfairly characterized as criminals for mistakes in accounting practices is not only unfair, it is entirely irresponsible,” according to a news release handed out Thursday morning before a hearing involving Arturo Reyes Jr. and Silvia Reyes.


Jim Miranda, a self-described minority rights activist, said the recently implemented 287(g) program was sold to the people of Northwest Arkansas as a tool to help law enforcement tackle serious, violent crime such as human trafficking, drug dealing and gang activity. But, so far, officials have used it to unfairly target Hispanic-owned businesses, he said.


Miranda was particularly critical of the government’s use of informants, which he said pits neighbor against neighbor and creates a climate of fear and suspicion in the community. He also criticized the conduct of task force officers, accusing an unnamed officer of going through an old woman’s purse and taking the few dollars it contained.

Miranda also said families have been terrorized and seniors have had their doors busted in, their assets seized and their homes threatened with forfeiture.

Immigration officials had no comment on the allegations or the Acambaro case Thursday.

Are Mexican restaurants welcome in the area, but only if their owners are white Americans? Seriously, this reeks of an official government effort to drive non-whites from the region.

And if you seek additional disgust with people's attitudes, read the comments at the end of the article. Here's a taste, but I'm not about to read them all. I'm disgusted enough already.
Reyes and his family were breaking laws in the very country they decided to take advantage of. And they got busted as a result. Good for the police.

The amount of hate in this country, and especially those who fan its flames, are what threatens our very foundation, and it would be refreshing to see all the presidential candidates -- Democrats and Republicans -- address it as a serious issue. Not likely to happen. It's way more fun to blame the ills of our crumbling society on gays and lesbians trying to legally marry.

But we are clearly moving in the same direction as so many other less stable nations which are afflicted with chaos, with various ethnic groups pitted against one another. We are lost and speeding down the wrong road. There's still time to correct this, but we don't seem very inclined to make the effort.

I know for a fact my accounting practices with my old business were far from accurate and I could not afford a professional accountant. And I will not face harassment or the risk of having my home or assets seized as a result. It helps to be white. You get cut a lot of slack.

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