Thursday, March 5, 2009

Congressional Hearings on 287(g)

At congressional hearings on a report of the Government Accountability Office faulting the 287(g) program that allows Immigration and Custom Enforcement to train and use local police authorities to enforce some immigration laws has led to some promises of change. (See posting for Mar. 4, 2009.) ICE officials will rewrite its agreement with local agencies. This is a much criticized program by immigration advocates who charge that, as does the GAO report, ICE too loosely supervises the program. They have other criticisms of the program, but see any change as a way of reigning in the likes of Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricoba County (AZ) whose participation has led to charges of racial profiling. Sheriff Joe's office, however, see only good results from the program and no need for change. (See Arizona Republic article.)

The U.S. Census, reporting data from 2007, documents the growth of the minority population til the nation becomes a Hispanic white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander and Native-American majority around about 2042.. That reality is already happening in the Southwest -- Texas to California -- in the schools and especially in kindergarten. (See Chicago Tribune article.) The largest and fastest growth is Hispanic. Already 54% of children in schools K-12 are Hispanic in New Mexico, with California, Texas and Arizona well over 40%. Now 23% of all school children in the U.S. are Hispanic. School population is not the only predictor of future demographics, but certainly a very reliable one. This also has implication for public policy -- from the distribution of public moneys to curriculum. Also it raises the issue of college education, since the census report indicates that Hispanic college attendance falls short of it growth in population.

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