MALDEF

The Ugly Side of the Immigration Debate

Thanks to ImmigrationProf Blog for flagging this story for us.

For North Carolina's Hispanic leaders, the biggest hazards of the job were once long hours. Now, they include death threats.

A pair of the state's most prominent advocates, Andrea Bazán and Tony Asion, say that for the past several months, each time they have spoken publicly, they have gotten a raft of profanity-laced messages, some of them exhorting them to return to their home countries and others denigrating Hispanics. Several legislators say they have also gotten messages recently that cross the line into racism, and one got a menacing voice mail.

Threats of violence are becoming common enough that Bazán, president of the philanthropic Triangle Community Foundation, has requested protection at some public appearances. Asion, director of the Raleigh Hispanic advocacy group El Pueblo and a former police officer, said he has received two handwritten death threats at his office since May.

"This is not about immigration," Bazán said. "This is not about debating policy. This has moved on to another sphere. This is hate."

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Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund