It’s no secret that states like Arizona and Alabama have used routine traffic stops as opportunities to identify illegal immigrants for deportation. That it appears to be happening in the Philadelphia region is a bit more surprising. Here’s a key finding from a Newsworks investigation into the practice , in which local police are coordinating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), whose basic goal is to deport as many illegal immigrants as possible.
According to citation records obtained by a public records request, 60 percent of the nearly 100 drivers ticketed by the Norristown Police Department during two checkpoints conducted jointly with ICE last summer had Hispanic surnames. These figures are particularly striking given that Hispanic residents make up only 30 percent of Norristown’s population, according to the 2010 Census.
Bensalem, according to the report, was another hotspot for immigration-related stops. Tired of “headaches,” says one Norristown police official, ICE won’t be back in town this summer. The damage, however, may already be done. [Newsworks]