Cross post from HatCityBLOG
This Friday, UConn School of Law fill be holding a forum on illegal immigration and lets just say that students are pretty upset with one of the members of the panel
Ken Krayeske did a write-up regarding the strong opposition towards Mayor (and gubernatorial candidate) Mark Boughton’s participation on the panel for My Left Nutmeg.
On March 26, 2010, from 1030 am to 400 pm, the UConn Public Interest Law Journal will host a forum on illegal immigration.
The kicker: Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and a representative from ICE will be among the keynote speakers.
The Latino Law Students Association at UConn Law today sent out an e-mail detailing its opposition to the inclusion of these individuals as speakers (and since this has not been published but from a UConn law email, I’ll blockquote the text fully):
Statement against Mayor Mark Boughton and the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Custom’s enforcement Policy
The Latino Law Student Association wishes to express its concerns with respect to Mayor Mark Boughton, scheduled to speak at the upcoming CPILJ Symposium, “Undocumented Immigrants in the Workplace.” Mayor Boughton, of Danbury, has been an outspoken anti-immigrant crusader in the State of Connecticut for the past decade. His policies have served to intimidate Danbury’s immigrant and Latino populations (whether documented or not.) He has asked that Danbury’s police officers participate in ICE’s 287 (g) program, which allows them to enforce federal immigration laws. He has also passed ordinances that permit selective enforcement of the housing code in Latino neighborhoods and that prohibit residents from playing volleyball. 1 Most recently, the Yale Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic filed a lawsuit against the city of Danbury for carrying out an illegal undercover sting operation in which 11 day laborers were arrested. This case involves a joint operation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agents where undercover police officers posed as contractors looking for workers, arrested them, and then turned them over to Immigration officials.  Mayor Boughton’s hate speech and discriminatory policies targeting immigrants should not be tolerated and he certainly should not be given a platform to espouse his views at UConn CPILJ’s symposium.
Danbury’s city ordinance, as endorsed by Mayor Boughton stands in stark contrast, to that of the city of Hartford, another Connecticut city with a large Latino immigrant population. In August 2009, the city of Hartford passed an immigration ordinance which prohibits the city of Hartford from using local law enforcement to carry out federal immigration laws. First, the ordinance affirms that all city services are available to residents, regardless of immigration status. Next, it prohibits city employees from asking about and disclosing a person’s immigration status when seeking city services. Finally, it prohibits police from asking crime victims and/or witnesses about their immigration status and prevents them from arresting and detaining anyone based solely on immigration status.
On a national level, the use of law enforcement to carry out civil immigration violations is highly controversial. The current immigration policy as it is carried out by The Department of Homeland Security and its agency, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “ICE” (formerly INS), discriminates against Latino workers and harasses Latino and immigrant communities.
The current policy seeks to arrest and deport as many immigrant workers as possible without thought to their human rights and without a fair alternative. ICE is conducting raids on homes and businesses in virtually every state in the nation and has only recently, under the Obama administration, started to go after employers that knowingly employ undocumented workers. The current policy is fundamentally flawed because it disproportionately relies on law enforcement tactics to solve administrative immigration violations. The policy has been particularly harsh on Latino communities and has criminalized Latino workers. The raids used by ICE agents have been condemned nationwide because they indiscriminately arrest and deport persons who may appear to be Latino whether or not there are warrants against them.
The Latino Law Student association is also concerned about CPILJ’s keynote speaker, Peter S. Vincent, who is a representative of the ICE agency. Having a keynote which represents the views of ICE- a notoriously anti-immigrant agency, along with Mayor Boughton on one of the panels, sends a skewed message about how we should think critically about these issues to those in the law school community and the greater Hartford community. We hope that in the future CPILJ and its members consider the impact of bringing such speakers to their symposium.
This past Sunday, March 21, 2010 thousands of immigrants, advocates, and supporters marched on the Washington Mall to raise their voices for a just immigration reform. Immigration raids and deportations continue to affect immigrant communities around the nation. We stand in solidarity and believe that it is important to speak out against individuals, like Mayor Boughton, federal agencies like department of Homeland Security and Immigrations Customs, and Enforcement, who espouse policies that are harmful to Latino communities.
For the foregoing reasons the Latino Student Association expresses its objection to allowing Mayor Boughton and Peter Vincent speak at the upcoming CPILJ Symposium.
– The Latino Law Student Association
UPDATE: In response to the letter from the Latino Law Students Association, CT Public Interest Law journal Editor-in-Chief Patrick Linsey issued the following statement:
To the Law School Community,
The Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal has read with concern LLSA’s objections to several of the speakers at Friday’s symposium. First, the journal in no way endorses the views of any panelists at our symposium.
That said, we certainly understand the concerns of many students, including members of LLSA, over Mayor Boughton. Many on campus and throughout Connecticut have raised sound arguments against immigration enforcement in Danbury. I look forward to these arguments being made at the symposium on Friday.
But we also feel it is worth noting: While not in line with the views of LLSA or many of the students on this campus, Mayor Boughton’s ideas are shared by a large number of people in this country. As such, any discussion of so complex an issue that does not address those views would be incomplete. Indeed, in 2008 the World Affairs Council of Connecticut hosted a debate between Mayor Boughton and New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, and the result was a reasoned dialogue (please see: http://articles.courant.com/2008-03-13/news/0803130243_1_illegal-immigration-immigration-reform-immigrant-labor).
Mayor Boughton has agreed to serve on a panel with three people holding much different views on immigration — views much more likely to be shared by many of those on campus. These panelists include Sandra Trevino, executive director of La Junta (please see: http://www.juntainc.org/en/about/) and Amy Sugimori, executive director of La Fuente (please see: http://www.nycpp.org/en/staff.html). The journal has made every effort to sponsor a balanced symposium.
We on the symposium committee feel it is important to listen to those with whom we disagree as well as those with whom we agree — even on issues so fraught with emotion and human suffering as this one. We could live in a world where Mayor Boughtons speak only at Tea Party rallies and Sandra Trevinos speak only at symposia sponsored by public interest law journals. In that world, the symposium we organized would not exist.
Finally, as for Mr. Vincent: We also understand the concerns some have had with immigration policy under the Obama Administration – concerns from those on both sides of the debate (please see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/19/AR2010031904676.html). But Mr. Vincent has been appointed under a president who has expressed support for comprehensive immigration reform (please see: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/09/us/politics/09immig.html), including a path to legal citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Mr. Vincent oversees more than 900 federal immigration lawyers across the country, and we hope his talk will add to our understanding of how the government is currently handling this issue and how it may be approached in the future. To the extent LLSA and others on campus disagree with current Immigration and Customs Enforcement policies, we respect those disagreements. But I would again ask you to consider the
above thoughts on considering alternative perspectives.
It is our great hope that members of LLSA — and students, faculty and staff from across the law school community — will attend Friday’s symposium. We hope that all of our panelists and that our keynote speaker will face questions that challenge their viewpoints. If any people or groups on campus have further concerns, I or any member of the symposium committee would be happy to speak with them.
Patrick Linsey, Editor-in-Chief
Tony Lu, Symposium Editor
Rachel Sauer, Symposium Editor
Meghan Sweeney, Symposium Editor
Symposium Committee, Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal