OTHER VOICES

Immigration reform needed

Posted Nov. 27, 2011, at 4:49 p.m.

When gridlock keeps you from moving forward, be careful not to slip back.

The Obama administration acknowledged that reality recently when officials began training immigration agents in a new policy to stop deporting as many illegal immigrants who have no criminal records.

The philosophy behind President Barack Obama’s earlier ramping up of deportations was to demonstrate that current laws are being enforced, creating a climate leading to reform of immigration laws. The administration has deported nearly 400,000 people each year for the past three years.

But have you heard about much progress on comprehensive immigration reform in Washington? Neither have we.

Congress hasn’t even been able to pass the Dream Act, which would give legal status to young people who have lived in the country for years if they join the military or go to college.

So why are we tearing apart families to deport individuals who have broken no laws other than the immigration regulations themselves? Why are thousands of people being held in prisonlike conditions, awaiting deportation hearings in a system that has a backlog of 300,000 cases? Why not devise a system that encourages legal instead of illegal immigration?

Chicago Sun-Times (Nov. 23)

Nonviolent?

Watching University of California-Davis campus police pepper-spraying a line of seated student protesters, the immediate and valid reaction is: What part of nonviolent do these officers not understand? Even if the last major waves of campus protests were a couple of decades ago, quelling student demonstrations without harm and with a minimum of residual outrage should be at the top of university training programs for police staff.

Statements afterward by the police chief, who was placed on leave, and Chancellor Linda Katehi only fueled the anger by appearing to defend the two officers known to have been involved and who previously were placed on leave.

While deploring the incident and vowing to investigate thoroughly, Katehi reportedly said the police officers were technically following protocol, though some situations call for not following protocol. She would have been better off sticking with just the first part of her statement. If the police were indeed following protocol, there might be a serious problem with the protocol itself.

Though Katehi’s original response failed to inspire confidence, she quickly corrected course and is assembling a diverse task force for a 30-day investigation. UC President Mark G. Yudof has ordered an obviously needed review of all university police training. Both resulting reports must set down clear policies for the treatment of nonviolent protesters and stern discipline for those who violate the policy.

Los Angeles Times (Nov. 23)

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