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The Taco Mayor – Overcoming Anti-Immigrant Politics in Connecticut

East Haven

A protester holds an American flag during a rally for immigrant rights in East Haven, CT. (Photo: Sarah Kate Kramer/Next American City)

East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo never intended to enter the national debate about immigration. But that’s exactly what he did earlier this year when, in response to the arrest of four local police officers for allegedly executing a campaign of harassment toward Latinos, he said he would possibly “eat tacos” for dinner that night. The comment revealed a deep disregard for Maturo’s Latino constituents as well as ignorance of their culture: East Haven has a sizable Ecuadorian population, and tacos are not part of their traditional cuisine. Using this episode as a jumping-off point, journalist Sarah Kate Kramer explains what went wrong in East Haven, why it matters for the thousands of other U.S. communities undergoing similar changes, and how public policies are evolving to suit these towns and cities in flux. Kramer reports on why the National League of Cities recently recognized East Haven’s neighbor, New Haven, for a public safety program geared to immigrant populations, and explores other best practices for communities experiencing demographic shifts.

Download the article from the website of our partner, Next American City.

AboutFeet in Two Worlds
Feet in Two Worlds brings the work of immigrant and ethnic media journalists from communities across the U.S. to public radio and the web. Since 2005, this award-winning project has expanded the diversity of voices and stories on public radio by presenting the work of journalists representing a broad spectrum of immigrant communities including Arab, Bosnian, Brazilian, Chinese, Haitian, Indian, Irish, Latin American, Pakistani, Polish, and Russian immigrants. Feet in Two Worlds reporters appear on nationally-distributed public radio programs including PRI’s The World, Studio 360, and The Takeaway, American Public Media’s Marketplace and NPR’s Latino USA, as well as on public radio stations WNYC, New York Public Radio, and WDET in Detroit.