Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mexican consul says he turned threatening hatred e-mail over to FBI.

He had warned others of Irving crackdown on illegal immigrants .

Mexican Consul Enrique Hubbard Urrea has received plenty of hate mail in the last several days over his comments about Irving's crackdown on illegal immigrants.

On Sunday, he received a threat, as well, which he said he has reported to the U.S. State Department.

"Keep out of our dealings with the illegals in our state and in our country," reads the e-mail sent Oct. 7. "This is not your issue, this is my country and we will take care of it. Any interference from you people will have dire consequences.

The threat follows Mr. Hubbard's warning to Mexican immigrants to stay out of Irving because of the spike in the number of deportations being reported out of that city in the last several months. At the same time, the diplomat said he believed Mexican nationals were being detained simply because of their appearance.

Last month's warning was part of a shift in policy by the Mexican government to toughen its defense of immigrants and give the consulates in the U.S. more resources as well, officials familiar with the strategy have said. The new policy by the Mexican government comes as deportations reach an all-time high in the toughest crackdown in decades by the U.S. government and law enforcement.

Among the actions under discussion are the creation of an anti-defamation league similar to that focused on protecting Jews; budget increases for some of the 47 consulates; and a media campaign aimed at counteracting groups opposed to illegal, and sometimes legal, immigration.

The effort underscores the tension in U.S. communities grappling with problems created by illegal immigration – and a failure by Congress to overhaul the nation's immigration laws.

Mexico's consuls were told to be "more active and more involved in the defense of the civil rights of our people," Mr. Hubbard said then.

"The environment is poisonous, and the fact that there is now this threat against the consul confirms that we have a racist element in this mix," Mr. Hubbard said. "I can't come up with any other way to explain the fact that there is now a threat against someone who is bringing these things to light."

Mr. Hubbard said that he filed an official complaint with representatives in the State Department's Dallas office on Tuesday and that they responded that they would possibly contact Dallas police.

"I don't know if they will launch an investigation," he said.

Officials with the State Department could not confirm Wednesday that they had received a complaint. And Dallas Police Department authorities were not aware of the complaint.

Between July 1, 2006, and Oct. 4, 2007, the Irving Police Department has turned over 1,685 illegal immigrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials as part of the Criminal Alien Program, or CAP.

Under the program, people who are detained at the Irving Jail are asked about their legal status. If they are found to be illegal, they are turned over to immigration authorities.
Local activists are frustrated about the situation and say that hate mail and threats will do nothing to solve the problem, but dialogue will.

"This is horrible," said Anthony Bond, an activist in Irving. "The person who made that threat should be prosecuted. The consul is a victim of a hate crime."

Mr. Hubbard said he would continue about his business, though he's not taking the threat lightly. He said he would ask his wife to be more careful, but that he will not be intimidated.

"I am not going to keep my mouth shut or stop saying what I need to say," he added. "I'm not taking this lightly, but it's not going to affect my life."

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