New Mexico newspaper apologizes for cartoon linking ‘Dreamers’ to criminality

The cartoon appeared on Wednesday in the Albuquerque Journal and showed two armed men holding up a couple. (Courtesy Albuquerque Journal)
Updated 09 February 2018
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New Mexico newspaper apologizes for cartoon linking ‘Dreamers’ to criminality

A New Mexico newspaper apologized on Thursday for publishing a cartoon portraying illegal immigrants brought to the US as children as street criminals that drew widespread condemnation as racist.
Illegal immigrants brought to the US as children by their parents are known as “Dreamers” after the name of legislation that would have granted them the right to permanent residency. Congressional Republicans and Democrats fought over the legislation and the status of the “Dreamers” has been at the center of the US immigration debate and negotiations over the US budget that are ongoing.
The cartoon appeared on Wednesday in the Albuquerque Journal and showed two armed men holding up a couple. One of the men is wearing a jacket that says MS-13, the name of a criminal street gang that has ties to the Central American country of El Salvador. Republican President Donald Trump has blamed illegal immigration for the spread of MS-13 in the US.
In the cartoon, the woman utters a profanity and the man responds, “Now, Honey ... I believe they prefer to be called ‘Dreamers’ ... or future Democrats.”
Another armed man in the cartoon holds a sword, with a mask on his face and sticks of dynamite around his chest, in an apparent depiction of a suicide bomber.
“In hindsight, instead of generating debate, this cartoon only inflamed emotions,” Karen Moses, executive editor of the Albuquerque Journal, said in a statement. “This was not the intent, and for that, the Journal apologizes.”
All of the US senators and members of Congress from New Mexico condemned the cartoon in a joint statement, saying it “plays to the most false and negative stereotype of ‘Dreamers,’ which can only serve to enrage extremists.”
A photographer at the Albuquerque Journal who is originally from El Salvador also criticized the cartoon on Twitter.
Sean Delonas, the artist who drew the cartoon, could not be reached for comment.
He told the New York Times that he believed immigrants should come legally to the US, the Times reported.


Google employees demand more oversight of China search engine plan

A Google sign is seen during the China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference (ChinaJoy) in Shanghai, China August 3, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 17 August 2018
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Google employees demand more oversight of China search engine plan

  • Hundreds of employees have called on the company to provide more “transparency, oversight and accountability
  • Employees have asked Google to create an ethics review group with rank-and-file workers, appoint ombudspeople to provide independent review and internally publish assessments of projects

SAN FRANCISCO: Google is not close to launching a search engine app in China, its chief executive said at a companywide meeting on Thursday, according to a transcript seen by Reuters, as employees of the Alphabet Inc. unit called for more transparency and oversight of the project.
Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told staff that though development is in an early stage, providing more services in the world’s most populous country fits with Google’s global mission.
Hoping to gain approval from the Chinese government to provide a mobile search service, the company plans to block some websites and search terms, Reuters reported this month, citing unnamed sources.
Whether the company could or would launch search in China “is all very unclear,” Pichai said, according to the transcript. “The team has been in an exploration stage for quite a while now, and I think they are exploring many options.”
Disclosure of the secretive effort has disturbed some Google employees and human rights advocacy organizations. They are concerned that by agreeing to censorship demands, Google would validate China’s prohibitions on free expression and violate the “don’t be evil” clause in the company’s code of conduct.
Hundreds of employees have called on the company to provide more “transparency, oversight and accountability,” according to an internal petition seen by Reuters on Thursday.
After a separate petition this year, Google announced it would not renew a project to help the US military develop artificial intelligence technology for drones.
The China petition says employees are concerned the project, code named Dragonfly, “makes clear” that ethics principles Google issued during the drone debate “are not enough.”
“We urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table and a commitment to clear and open processes: Google employees need to know what we’re building,” states the document seen by Reuters.
The New York Times first reported the petition on Thursday. Google declined to comment.
Company executives have not commented publicly on Dragonfly, and their remarks at the company-wide meeting marked their first about the project since details about it were leaked.
Employees have asked Google to create an ethics review group with rank-and-file workers, appoint ombudspeople to provide independent review and internally publish assessments of projects that raise substantial ethical questions.
Pichai told employees: “We’ll definitely be transparent as we get closer to actually having a plan of record here” on Dragonfly, according to the transcript. He noted the company guards information on some projects where sharing too early can “cause issues.”
Three former employees involved with Google’s past efforts in China told Reuters current leadership may see offering limited search results in China as better than providing no information at all.
The same rationale led Google to enter China in 2006. It left in 2010 over an escalating dispute with regulators that was capped by what security researchers identified as state-sponsored cyberattacks against Google and other large US firms.
The former employees said they doubt the Chinese government will welcome back Google. A Chinese official, who declined to be named, told Reuters this month that it is “very unlikely” Dragonfly would be available this year.