September 04, 2009

New Jersey's Sheriff Guadagno Uninterested in Winning the Latino Vote as She Runs for Lt. Governor

Opinion & Analysis By Reverend Miguel Rivera

My best advice to Chris Christie at this time is to ask Sheriff Guadagno to be humble and cooperative. The truth is that as many Latinos (a strong swing vote block in NJ) struggle with the upcoming gubernatorial election; both candidates should be trying to win the Hispanic vote. Latinos in New Jersey are a more sophisticated voter block than some politicians realize.

Sheriff Kim Guadagno has a track record of being insensitive and intolerant to the fact that Latino immigrants (many who are undocumented) are residing and looking to plant roots in Mammoth County. Nothing, not even the repression by law enforcement can stop the multi-ethnic urban sprawl. The fact is that there is no evidence of increased criminal activity in Mammoth County caused by immigration and therefore no need for federal authorities to empower local law enforcement officers to perform immigration law enforcement functions.

The implementing a 287-G, a federal immigration law enforcement plan is presumably intended to primarily target the Latino community as they represent the highest number of undocumented immigrants. Racial profiling and unnecessary traffic stops have become an effective tool for local police to meet their arrests quotas; keeping Sheriff's Deputies busy and assuring the need to further expand the "catch-up with you" enforcement strategy.

Undoubtedly, Latinos in Momouth County are disappointed with Sheriff Guadagno's decision to apply for the 287-G federal law program and the result is frustration that has spread around the State toward her decision to run as New Jersey's Leutenant Governor.

One is saddened to watch Sheriff Guadagno lack of understanding and insenstivity about the concerns of the Latino community, particularly when she blasts Attorney General's Anne Milgram directives on matters of 287-G procedures and compliance in New Jersey.

Madam Sheriff Guadagno, I must kindly ask you to stop insulting the intelligence of Latino's and to try to understand that there is no gain for anyone when political arrogance supersedes rationality and avoids a humane and fair approach to the need of comprehensive immigration reform. In the best interests of your political future, please take time to further analyze how you might avoid being labeled as an anti-immigrant zealot and rather, help America heal its communities by freeing it of bigotry, xenophobia and discrimination.

It might also help to ensure Attorney General Milgram is informed about your intentions to comply with New Jersey Attorney Generals Guidelines on 287-G Program. It might also be a good idea to ensure that your Deputies adhere to these guidelines and avoid all possibilities of political embarrassment for non-compliance.

Certainly, the consequences of your actions will deliver you from all political arrogance and further make the GOP ticket a more viable alternative to consider voting for, in November.

Reverend Miguel Rivera is Chairman of CONLAMIC-NJ (New Jersey Latino Christian Clergy Conference)

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