Tuesday, March 17, 2009

That Better Be A Tan Or You're About To Become A Revenue Generator

OK so times are tough all over and people are buying cat food recipe books. We get that. Also, we all know immigrants take jobs away from unemployed Americans who would otherwise be, well, unemployed because no one has a job except that teen aged stoner who works at the liquor store drive through. We don't get that, but that's not the point.

The point is when people find something they do well, and other people want to pay to see them to do it, what's the big deal? Even if that something is sitting in jail.

At a time when local law enforcement agencies are being forced to cut budgets and freeze hiring, cities across Southern California have found a growing source of income -- brown people. "It's a win win," Santa Ana Police Chief Paul Walters said. "We get money for picking up people who would otherwise be looking for jobs that don't exist anyway."

For some cash-strapped cities, the federal money has become a critical source of revenue, covering budget shortfalls and saving positions. "It's like the beaners aren't taking jobs, they're creating them," Walters said. "What a topsy turvy world we live in, huh? Of course there's that whole incarceration thing, and the fact that we put them in with hardened criminals, but hey, everyone has to take one for the team now and then."

When Santa Ana received bond money to build a police headquarters and jail, it did so with the taco benders in mind. Rather than constructing a facility to house its own inmates, it built a much larger facility and soon started cruising parts of town where they were known to hang out. The federal contracts cover nearly the entire tomato picker population of the city...er...I mean cost of the jail, said Russell Davis, the jail administrator. If he had to do it all over again, Davis said, he would have built another floor on the jail. The immigration agency "is inundated with detainees," he said. "If I had 100 more beds, they'd fill them. You can't believe how many border bunnys are just out walking around. It's like they don't know we're picking them up for being in America while brown."

Not everyone is as pleased as Davis over those arrangements. Immigrant rights advocates have raised concerns about local jails not following federal detention standards and not segregating detainees from people suspected of committing crimes. "Picky, picky, picky," Davis responded. "Look, Most of them are criminals already...what, they're not? OK, then they can't speak English. They can? Umm...let me get back to you."

Victor Hidalgo, 36, finished a five-year sentence in state prison on a drug charge before being transferred into immigration custody. Hidalgo, who is from Nicaragua, said he and others have jobs, families and homes here and are not a danger to society. "We're not national security risks," he said.

"We never said they were," Walters responded. "What they are are profit centers."

"It was a strategy to help us financially," said Edward Flores, chief of Santa Clara County's Department of Correction. "It's not like we're doing it to white people."


Jenna McWilliams said...

I'm really enjoying your blog. How come you don't have the "follow" button? I'd love for it to show up on my own blog (which you could check out if you wanted to, at http://jennamcwilliams.blogspot.com).

Ironicus Maximus said...

Umm...What? We usually only blog after cocktail hour, so you'll have to tell us about this follow thingy.

Anonymous said...

I think it half crazy however, since you brought it up, where is the elderly aunt of Obama, now?(here "illegally" from Kenya) The system is obviously messed up and to deport this woman would be an atrocity. So, who is "good to go" and who is not?

Jenna McWilliams said...

Awesome. Now a follower.