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Latino Group Examines Public Safety Issues

Grupo Latino de Acción Directa (GLAD)’s Feb. 28 forum at St. Alice’s church in Springfield focused on public safety. More than 140 members of the Latino community attended, including Timothy Doney, the new Springfield police chief and Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner, according to one of GLAD’s founders, Phil Carrasco.

GLAD is hosting evening and luncheon forums as well as “Café con” (Coffee with) events that politically engage a broad spectrum of the Latino community, Carrasco says. These forums let people show up and speak their piece, without others speaking for them, he says. 

At the public safety forum, Latino community members expressed concern about how the lack of driving privileges currently causes stress and hardship. Carrasco says the officers present expressed understanding and emphasized the need for people to carry a photo ID.

He says this discussion led to a second question, which is how many violent versus nonviolent offenses have led to deportation. “Turner was very clear that is public information and it is accessible, and we will follow up on that,” Carrasco says. 

Community members and students presented a letter, read in English and Spanish, to Turner and Doney opposing the collaboration of local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities. According to UO students Paige Corich-Kleim and Monserrat Alegria, as of Sept. 30, 2013, “this collaboration has resulted in the forced deportation of 55 people from Lane County since the collaboration began in September 2011.” 

In April 2013 the Multnomah County Commission voted to uphold Sheriff Dan Staton’s decision to stop complying with federal immigration holds for low-level offenders in its county jails.

Turner tells EW that “the community’s feedback in this area is important, and needs to be heard at both the local and federal levels.” But adds that “Lane County is required to comply with all federal laws, regardless of whether the community, Board of Commissioners, or the sheriff supports a particular law,” citing a potential loss of federal grant money.

For more information on GLAD, go to its Facebook page at http://wkly.ws/1p5.