Clashes Over Police Checkpoints And Deportations Increasing In Escondido

By Ruxandra Guidi
November 01, 2010

Photo by Ruxandra Guidi
At a voter forum, an Escondido resident speaks out against police measures that he says target the Latino community.

SAN DIEGO -- Over the weekend, federal immigration agents working with local police in Escondido arrested two undocumented immigrants with past criminal convictions.

The number of driver's-license checkpoints and deportations, and the protests against them, are escalating in the community. On the eve of the election, a get-out-the-vote forum drew dozens of Latino residents to Escondido City Hall.

But the meeting inevitably turned to the issue of drivers license and DUI checkpoints and deportations. Maria Sanchez has been protesting at the site of the checkpoints. She said they target people like her: Hispanic residents with no criminal convictions.

The Mexican native, a naturalized U.S. citizen, said that police are stopping people of color. Drivers without licenses find their vehicles impounded. If they are determined to be undocumented immigrants, they are often deported.

Escondido Police Chief Jim Maher continues to defend the checkpoints. He said protesters are "putting all of us in danger." By using signs to warn drivers of the upcoming checkpoint, the protesters are helping to keep unlicensed and drunk drivers on the road, the chief explained.