ACLU of Iowa Objects to Intimidation of Latinos at Des Moines Bus Station

Affiliate: ACLU of Iowa
June 16, 2011 12:00 am

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Iowa
Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

CONTACT: (212) 549-2666;

The ACLU of Iowa wants to express its deep concern about the latest incident in what appears to be an increasing number of Iowa Latinos being stopped and interrogated without cause by federal and state authorities.

It was reported that on Tuesday the 14th of June, 15 or more agents from the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Des Moines Police Department descended on the Greyhound bus station in downtown Des Moines. They reportedly arrived around 4:00 p.m. and left around 6:30 p.m. They were observed singling out Hispanics for questioning. It appeared the people were selected for questioning for no reason other than their skin color and suspected national origin.

ACLU of Iowa Board Member and native of Mexico Alejandro Orozco was at the bus station at the time. He was not questioned, but witnessed others being questioned. The authorities were in uniform, armed with guns, stopping individuals, and going onto buses. “They’re singling you out just because you’re Hispanic, whether you are a citizen or not. It just confirms and increases the perception by Latinos that you are being targeted by local law enforcement and government authorities, and even common citizens, as a potential undocumented immigrant or perhaps a drug dealer.”

“Reports such as these are of great concern to the ACLU,” says Ben Stone, Executive Director of the
ACLU of Iowa. “No one in America should have to submit to a seizure and interrogation simply because of their race. Yet we are getting reports of this happening with increasing frequency in Iowa and the Des Moines area,” said Stone.

The ACLU of Iowa is hearing from immigration attorneys and advocates around the country that federal and state officials are targeting Hispanics with a variety of different tactics to unfairly and inappropriately stop them in public for questioning. In some cases, they are reportedly going to homes and asking for documentation without cause.

The ACLU of Iowa encourages Hispanics and others to report intimidating or harassing behavior by
authorities. Please email or call 515-243-3576.

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