Calling 1-800-ILLEGAL

Ok, there very likely isn’t a number for reporting illegal immigrants at 1-800-ILLEGAL. I don’t know because I’ve never called it. But what if the number mentioned was available so that anybody in the United States could report someone who was an “alleged” illegal immigrant?

One county — a county I used to live in — has set up a hotline where local residents can report illegal immigrants and businesses who hire illegals. Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County has set up a hotline to report information on illegal immigrants.

The sheriff, under fire from many latino leaders, has pointed out that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (1-800-BE-ALERT), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (1-866-DHS-2-ICE) have similar hotlines.

When I lived in Phoenix (in Maricopa county) I worked at Walgreens. Spanish-speaking customers were very routine. Every now and then I’d have to call around several stores because a Spanish-speaking customer required a translator and my Spanish is rather limited. But it would be wrong to assume (even if the person couldn’t speak any English) that the Spanish-speaking person standing in front of me was an illegal immigrant.

According to an article written a week or so ago, there haven’t been any arrests made with the hotline. But the sheriff says that all tips are taken seriously and that no arrests will be made without probable cause. Which is encouraging.

Here’s why I don’t like the hotline. It encourages profiling. It also encourages the “bad neighbor” effect. If you’ve ever had the neighbors call the cops on you, you know what I mean. Is it wrong to assume that since ten or so Mexicans are living in a house that they are all illegals? Perhaps, but why not go talk to them instead of silently reporting them to the authorities based on your suspicions.

One of the reasons I am learning Spanish is so I don’t have to live in ignorance when it comes to the Spanish-speaking citizens of this country. I want to learn their world, their culture, and their language. And I’m also dropping a lot of the misconceptions and barriers I had.

If a citizen in Phoenix or neighboring cities has a legitimate suspicion, by all means call the hotline. However, one shouldn’t call the hotline based on the color of someone’s skin, a person’s occupation, or the language a person speaks.

5 Comments

  1. I think the whole mob mentality thing is a bit part of the problem. In the UK there is a lot of talk about immigration at the moment in the press and, illegals or not, everyone seems to have a story about how the immigrants are bad because of one thing or another.

    What I can’t figure out is how everyone seems to have first hand knowledge of the problems they cause and the undesirable acts they carry out, and yet I have never met an immigrant and I doubt I would know if I did. Unless they told me, obviously.

  2. Andrew,

    I watched a movie called “Dirty Pretty Things” which follows two displaced persons in Britain. Very disturbing if even just a little bit of the movie is true.

  3. having a hotline to report on suspected illegals reminds me how Stalin liked to solve problems with suspicious “enemies of the state”. I truly hope Americans won’t chose the same route.

  4. Well I personally as a American hate seeing illegal immigrants in this county. Half of our promblems come from them anyway. I am trying to be as politically correct as possible, but come on. They take jobs from hard working Americans who need to support familys and they give it to these “immigrants” for less becuase then the mail it to Mexico and their familys get rich off American money. Look, when we try to help counties out they turn their back on us and try to take over. Stop being stupid put up a damn border, check id’s, passports and various items. American has worked to hard to become the best nation possible, why ruin that with paying taxes to go to their broke asses? They have a county with rules as strick as ours should be about people moving in their countires. Think about it all countries do, except us. Lets help stop illegal immigrants from taking over our country, lets do it with a little pride America. Peace Off! ❗ call the number save one american at a time.

  5. THE ONLY WHITE ONE

    October 16, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    I WORK IN A PLACE HERE IN LAS VEGAS WHERE THERE ARE AT LEAST 50% ILLEGAL HISPANICS HERE! I DONT LIKE THEM VERY MUCH AND THE COMPANY WANTS ME TO LEARN SPANISH! WHY SHOULD I? THEY ARENT EVEN TRYING TO LEARN OUR NATIONAL LANGUAGE…..ENGLISH!!!! I DONT KNOW HOW TO GO ABOUT REPORTING THIS TO THE AUTHORITIES! I ALSO DONT WANT TO GET FIRED BUT I NEED TO DO THIS! DOES ANYONE HAVE AN IDEA FOR ME TO HELP OUT?

    MR. X

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