Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Report Finds Intolerance Toward Immigrants in New York County

A report released Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center found that Latino immigrants living in Suffolk County, New York have been living in an environment of intolerance and attacks against them. The report found the intolerance is being fueled by a combination of anti-immigrant groups, an indifferent police department and county leaders.

The Southern Poverty Law Center researches and monitors hate groups and became interested in Suffolk County after Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant, was murdered in November 2008. Prosecutors claim the killers were a group of teenagers who were doing what they called “beaner-hopping.”

Four months of research in the county, including interviews with more than 70 Latino immigrants, 30 local religious leaders and other community leaders, found ethnic intolerance going back 10 years.

Harassment of Latinos in Suffolk County is common, the report said, explaining that they “are regularly taunted, spit upon and pelted with apples, full soda cans, beer bottles and other projectiles.”

The findings indicate a larger trend. “Our feeling is that what we found is really the tip of a very ugly iceberg,” said Mark Potok, who edited the report. “We were told stories that are absolutely hair-raising.”

The report said the situation in Suffolk “is a microcosm of a problem facing the entire United States, where FBI statistics suggest a 40 percent rise in anti-Latino hate crimes between 2003 and 2007.”



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