Greg Sowinski, Lima News (Oh.), Oct. 4
LIMA — After receiving a letter from the Mexican consulate warning him about profiling Mexicans, Sheriff Dan Beck said Monday his agency may increase enforcement against illegal immigrants.
“If this is the type of attitude he wants, it appears he’s trying to coerce me into doing nothing. It tells me this is a more important issue. He just raised the priority here,” Beck said.
Beck was talking about a letter he received from Antonio Meza, the consul for the Mexican Consulate in Detroit. The letter was sent to Beck last month after Beck announced a plan to train his deputies on recognizing fraudulent forms of identification.
In the letter, Meza said he’s been informed that Beck’s agency is targeting Mexican nationals living and working in the area. He also said Beck’s officers have gone as far as to ask Mexicans for their immigration papers as they wait to be picked up by their employers.
“I cannot see being an immigrant and a day laborer as reasons to be profiled,” Meza wrote.
Meza’s letter came on the heels of Beck’s announcement to form a “working group” to ad-dress crime associated with illegal immigrants. Beck expressed his concerns after a triple fatal car crash July 24 involving illegal immigrants. He also was concerned after an accused child molester from Hamilton fled to Lima to avoid prosecution.
Meza said Beck has not responded to his letter or extended an invitation to meet, as Meza requested in the Sept. 6 letter.
Beck said he plans to send a letter in response but hasn’t gotten around to it, partly because he was out of the office for nearly two weeks.
“He’s not a priority on my list. He’s not important to me. I’m not going to jump every time someone sends a letter to my office,” Beck said. “He needs to understand he’s a guest of the U.S. and he’s not going to prejudge someone the people of this county elected.”