Historical Misreatment of Immigrants Persists

While immigration efforts for some cities continue to foster more inclusivity, some cities are moving in the other direction. For example, immigrant residents of East Haven, Connecticut, have been living in fear of a police “gang” known as Miller’s Boys.

Known to detain illegal immigrants residing in the city without bringing specific charges, the officers also allegedly use unwarranted violence, often kicking or slapping those in custody, according to a Justice Department report. Concerned citizens who attempted to stop the Miller’s Boys’ behavior were often followed, and the gang reportedly went through local stores’ security footage that could be used as evidence against them.

Four members of the police force gang were arrested on January 24 by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The police harassment that occurred in East Haven was likely shocking for the nearby city of New Haven, as it has one of the largest immigration populations of any American city, and is considered one of the most welcoming. Recently, New Haven debuted a number of innovative immigration services, such as resident cards for all documented and undocumented residents.

Some residents are remarking that the East Haven situation illustrates how very little the country has evolved in regard to immigration. New Haven resident and Yale professor Matthew Jacobson said the United States is “a nation of gatekeepers” in a recent interview with area newspaper the New Haven Register. Nothing new to the country as a whole, Jacobson believes that the police officers’ actions follow similar patterns of fear and discrimination towards new residents.

Jacobson, an immigration expert, believes that current discriminatory attitudes can be broken into two basic responses. U.S. citizens seem to either be angry over the fact that immigrants are taking United States jobs, or angry that immigrants do not understand the democratic system of this country, and are not well-versed enough to practice self-government, according to the New Haven Register.