Call Suffolk Legislators To Demand Accountability From Suffolk Police For Failing To Protect Immigrants

(Photo/Creative Commons/DanTD)

The publication of a news report by ProPublica (the non-profit investigative journalism newsroom) describing failures by the Suffolk Police to investigate the disappearances of immigrant teens has led to calls by community groups for the Suffolk Legislature to demand accountability.

The ProPublica article recounts the efforts made by the families of immigrant teens to locate their missing children, only to be told by the police that the children were runaways. In several cases, the teenagers had been abducted and killed by the gang MS-13. The report was the subject of an hour-long program on National Public Radio.

According to the report, several murders of immigrants by MS-13 went uninvestigated until two native-born girls were killed by the gang. Among the problems identified in the report was the refusal by police to use an interpreter when interviewing the father of one alleged victim. This was part of a pattern of not taking reports of crimes against immigrants seriously.

You can watch video here of police refusing to use an interpreter with a Spanish speaking parent.

Long Island community groups including Jobs With Justice and CARECEN have called on the Suffolk Legislature’s Public Safety Committee to question the police about this failure to properly investigate crimes against immigrants. To move this effort forward, the members of the Public Safety Committee need to hear from their constituents. Although Committee Chair Monica Martinez did inquire about the details of the report with the police, there needs to be sustained public pressure on all members of the committee.

Here are the legislators on the Suffolk County Public Safety Committee: Monica Martinez, Robert Calarco, Tom Donnelly, Bridget Fleming, Steven Flotteron, Kara Hahn, Leslie Kennedy, and William Spencer. On this page, you can find their phone numbers by clicking on your legislator’s name. Call them today, and tell them that you are outraged by what was uncovered by ProPublica and ask what steps they are taking to ensure that the police stop discriminating against immigrant victims of crimes.

The full ProPublica article can be read here.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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