Immigration remarks spark hate mail |

Immigration remarks spark hate mail

Katie Clary

Sheriff’s Deputy Marie Munday said she has received a slew of “hateful” e-mails for two sentences published in The Aspen Times last week. As the Latino-Anglo liaison at the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, Munday speaks to the press occasionally on Hispanic issues in the Roaring Fork Valley. But her comment in the last paragraph of an article sparked an unprecedented backlash from anti-immigration protesters – all of whom live outside of Colorado. The backlash started over her comment that “residing in the United States without permission is actually a civil offense, not a crime,” in reference to unauthorized Hispanic residents. Munday said she has received eight e-mails and three or four angry phone calls since the article was published, many from Riverside and San Bernadino counties in California. She believes most of the responses came from members of national anti-immigration groups. “I really started getting nervous,” she said. The deputy said she realizes immigrants who enter without inspection commit a federal misdemeanor, namely, a crime. But as quoted, Munday said she was referring specifically to immigrants who overstay their visas, a civil violation, not people who sneak across the border. However this was not clear in the article. Unanimously the protesters accused her of not knowing the law, she said, “but they’re only looking at half of it.” Many cited Title 8 Section 1325 of the U.S. Code, which describes how people entering the country without inspection are subject to six months imprisonment upon first offense, and up to two years in prison on subsequent offenses, along with fines. Munday said not all the e-mails bashed her; a U.S. immigration officer from Texas sent her a polite e-mail explaining the law. When she explained the situation he graciously acquiesced. But most of the e-mails attacked her personally.One woman wrote: “You should be fired immediately for giving aid and comfort to criminals.”Another protester signed an e-mail sent directly to the sheriff, “Victim of the invasion.”The sheriff’s office e-mail directory was posted on one Web site, encouraging viewers to write Munday and her boss, in an attempt to get her fired, she said. But Sheriff Bob Braudis said he resolutely supports Munday and her decisions. Other e-mails directed Munday to Web sites such as and, some of which Munday found “alarmingly hateful, bordering on white supremacy.”Some of it is very blatantly anti-Latino,” she said. “I wonder if it would make any difference if [undocumented workers] were here legally.”

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