State Police Rebut Rumor of Crackdown on Latinos

Ted Gregory, Chicago Tribune, Mar. 4

An Illinois State Police sergeant went on a popular Latino radio station Thursday morning to dispel two days of rumors that authorities were stopping Latino motorists randomly in the Aurora area on an immigration crackdown.

Sgt. Luis Gutierrez spoke on “La Ley” (107.9 FM) to clarify that what some had seen as police checking the immigration documents of Latinos actually were two officers from the Illinois State Police conducting a “seat-belt enforcement zone” at Farnsworth Road and Interstate Highway 88 on Tuesday morning.

Gutierrez said state police routinely set up seat-belt checkpoints, in which they stop motorists for seat-belt violations. He noted that state troopers are prohibited from asking about immigration status on such checks.

“It was something that was obviously blown out of proportion,” Gutierrez said Thursday afternoon. “We think we’ve done whatever we could to correct it and make sure we ease the minds of the Latino community.”

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