Althea Rae Shaw: Key Issues: Illegal Immigration and Public Safety

By Shirley Hawkins, Mid-City Press Contributor

Arlington Heights resident Althea Rae Shaw is on a mission.

Shaw, physician a victim’s advocate who is one of the candidates vying for the 10th district seat and is stumping on two issues that she claims have been woefully neglected—illegal immigration and public safety.

Shaw’s concern is personal. On March 2, medications 2008, her nephew—Jamiel Shaw, a promising high school football athlete—was gunned down by a gang member who was released from jail two days before the shooting. After police arrested the gang member days later, it was discovered that he had entered the country illegally.

Shaw said that illegal immigration remains a hot button issue for local politicians, maintaining that civic leaders repeatedly ignore the topic in order to avoid sparking controversy among Latino constituents.

“After Jamiel was murdered, the local politicians remained silent,” Shaw said. “Once they found out that the gang member was from Mexico and in the country illegally, they left us for dead.”

The devastating incident galvanized the Shaw family, who began circulating a petition to gather signatures for “Jamiel’s Law,” legislation that proposes that illegal gang members be fully prosecuted if they are found to be in the country illegally.

“Los Angeles is a sanctuary city,” said Shaw. “There appears to be an unspoken law that if you come to Los Angeles and you’re here illegally, no one will bother you.”

Pausing, she added, “According to Sheriff Lee Baca, there are Latino shot callers in jail who order other inmates to kill a black man once they are released on the streets. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is aware of this, but I’m not convinced that ICE enforcement is as effective as it should be.”

Shaw claims that 10th District Councilman Herb Wesson has repeatedly turned a blind-eye on the issue of illegal immigration.

“In fact, in one conversation we had with Wesson, he said that bringing up the illegal immigration issue would be like opening up a hornet’s nest. Honestly, if Wesson was more effective on this issue, I would not be running,” Shaw said. “Illegal immigration is costing California a staggering amount of money. California spends over $600 million on food stamps and welfare. Over a billion is spent on education and incarceration. I asked Wesson, ‘You’re getting the paperwork. Why are you silent?’”

Shaw’s campaign slogan is “Be Safe.” “We are going door-to-door to ask constituents if they want to be part of the ‘Be Safe’ public safety campaign. We want to focus on people who are like minded about public safety,” she said. “We want to open up the dialogue with constituents, church leaders and law enforcement about these issues because I think constituents are tired of the violence in our communities.”

Pausing, she added, “You can’t pick and choose what law you can enforce. That’s why public safety is my priority. There’s nothing more important than the safety of constituents. We need to speak up. We need to feel safe and be safe. We can’t remain silent on this issue.”

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