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Town Hall Question

May 3, 1999

Que planes tiene en relación con los Latinos y en especial con el problema de la frontera con México? Y también con respeto a la discriminación de minorias étnicas en la policía?

What are your plans in relation with Latinos and especially with the problem on the border with Mexico? Also, in respect to discrimination among police forces with ethnic minorities?

Fernando Suarez del Solar
Escondido, CA

La voz de la comunidad Latina se está escuchando en toda la nación y está siendo una contribución importante no solamente en nuestra política pero también en nuestra cultura y fuerza económica. Esta contribución se tiene que aplaudir no solamente reconocer. Estoy excitado por el apoyo de la comunidad Latina. Estoy enfocando en asuntos importantes a Latinos y toda América: sosteniendo nuestra prosperidad económica, haciendo cambios revolucionarios en nuestras escuelas y haciendo las calles más seguras para nuestros niños.

Hemos aumentado la policía en las calles y ahora estamos viendo el crimen bajando en cada categoría. Vigilando en nuestras comunidades tiene efecto. Tenemos que continuar avanzando. Pero quiero estar perfectamente claro: la mano fuerte de justicia tiene que respetar justicia. Estoy indignado por reportes recientes que notan casos de perfilar por raza. Es injusto encasillar y castigar ciudadanos inocentes solamente por la raza o etnicidad. Es injusto estereotipar alguien solamente por el color de la piel.

Yo apoyo inmigración legal. Nuestra nación fué construida por inmigrantes. Pero América no puede tolerar inmigración ilegal. Compartimos una frontera de 2,000 millas con México y tenemos la preocupación común de controlar el paso de inmigrantes ilegales a América. Tenemos que tener fronteras seguras y un fuerte control sobre ellas. Tenemos que regresar extranjeros ilegales a sus patrias, especialmente extranjeros criminales. Pero también es importante ha ayudar México mantener su comercio fuerte y estable. Esto produce trabajos con sueldos altos para americanos y ayuda trabajadores mexicanos encontrar sueldos decentes y futuros seguros en su mismo país, no al otro lado de la frontera.

The Latino community is making its voice heard all across our country and it's making an important contribution not just to our politics, but to our cultural life and our economic strength. That contribution ought to be applauded not just acknowledged. I’m energized by the support I’m receiving from the Latino community. I’m addressing the issues important to Latinos and important to America: sustaining our economic prosperity, making revolutionary changes in our schools, making our neighborhood safer.

We increased the number of police on the street and now we’re seeing crime rates drop in almost every category. Community policing is working. We’ve got to continue the progress. But I want to be perfectly clear: the strong arm of justice must also respect justice. I am outraged by recent reports of "racial profiling." It is wrong to pigeonhole and punish innocent citizens on the basis of race or ethnicity. It is wrong to stereotype somebody based on the color of his or her skin.

I support legal immigration. Our nation was built by immigrants. But America cannot tolerate illegal immigration. We share a 2,000-mile boundary with Mexico and a common concern to stem the flow of illegal immigrants to America. We must have secure borders and strong border control. We must return illegal aliens to their homes, especially criminal aliens. The other thing we have to do is help Mexico remain a strong and growing market. This will both create high-paying jobs for Americans and help Mexican workers see the prospect of a decent job and a secure future in their home, not across the border.

August 27th, 1999

What will you do to stop the police from stopping Latino and African Americans on the highways through racial profiling? My son is stopped repeatedly and sometimes searched but never held for anything!

Robert Thomas
Winston-Salem, NC

The strength of our citizenry and our law enforcement officers gives me a sense of great pride, but at the same time, it is difficult to hear stories about people like your son and not be concerned about the unequal treatment of our citizens. Occurrences of racial profiling should provoke a call for justice from all Americans. That is why, as President, my first civil rights action of the new century will be to end the practice of racial profiling in America.

I firmly believe that our strength as a nation lies in the wealth of diversity found in our communities. We can utilize this to our advantage by infusing diversity into the ranks of our criminal justice system. To begin with, I will support scholarships for communities that have been historically under-represented in our criminal justice system. To coordinate our efforts to end racial profiling nationwide, I will also support grants for police forces that establish professional development courses designed to help police officers prevent abuses. These measures will begin to help ensure officers respect and protect every law-abiding citizen.

We must continue the gains our administration has made in the war against crime, as well as the gains we, as a nation, have made in the fight for civil rights. Together as an empowered citizenry we must continue to champion civil justice. I want there to be a day when every American can be proud of our officers, prosecutors, and public defenders—not only because they reflect the diversity of our nation but because they also understand the diversity of the communities where they work.

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