This morning, The New York Times' editorial page insists the tale of Ernestina Mondragon, the first of 39 drivers ticketed by Dallas police for not speaking English to speak up, is merely a symptom of a larger issue: "how local police departments should deal with recent immigrants." (And, no, the editorial does not say that Mondragon's been in the U.S. for 29 years.) After all, Police Chief David Kunkle has said it's very possible his officers were just enforcing a federal statute available on their in-car ticketing computers -- one that says commercial drivers must speak English, and one that DPD doesn't enforce. Said the chief, "When we deal with crime victims ... our interest is not their immigration status," echoing the sentiment of Arlington Deputy Chief of Police Kim Lemaux, who told Unfair Park the same week, "We don't have the ability to take on unfunded mandates such as immigration enforcement."
The Times's editorial board, which has a few questions for the DPD about how this "noxious practice" was allowed to go on for so long without detection, could not agree more:
This is a country that has repeatedly gone overboard in its reaction to immigrants who don't speak the common tongue, but the mind still reels at this one. Where were these officers' supervisors, who presumably reviewed and approved each of these tickets after they were filed? Where were the judges who must have encountered these language offenders in traffic court? ... There is no question that the efforts to [have local peace officers enforce federal immigration policies] so have been marred by poor training, racial profiling and other abuses -- and widespread fear in the communities that the police are sworn to protect. If there is any remaining doubt, just take a look at what happened in Dallas.
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