Show me your papers–and prove that you are Hispanic!

June 6th, 2012

Well, isn’t this somewhat backwards. In Arizona, people of color are protesting SB 1070, which they claim enables police to racially profile people, and demand papers to prove citizenship.

In New York, in order to obtain assistance for minority businesses, entrepeneurs must provide proof that they are minorities! Show me your papers, indeed.

When Celines De Leon-Veras decided to get her cleaning company certified under New York City’s program assisting minority businesses, she thought she would get easy access to winning city contracts. Instead, she found herself stumped by additional paperwork the city required her to provide to prove her Hispanic status.

As part of the application, the city’s Department of Small Business Servicesasked the Dominican Republic–born Leon-Veras to furnish not just her birth certificate, but also a signed affidavit confirming her Hispanic identity.

“It’s ridiculous that I needed an additional document to prove that I am eligible for the program as a Hispanic,” says Leon-Veras, who employs 120 people in her janitorial services business based in Washington Heights.

Like Leon-Veras, all Latinos who apply for a certification under the city’s Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise Program — known as M/WBE — have to provide an affidavit along with their application. None of the other ethnic groups the program serves, including Asians and blacks, must do the same.

Created in 2005 under Local Law 129, the city’s small business program for minorities and women aims to promote “fairness and equity” in city procurement. The city sets goals for the share of government agency contracts that will go to black, Hispanic, Asian and female-run businesses, giving certified businesses a competitive edge in obtaining some government contracts.

Bizarre. How would this fare under Adarand and Crosson? Dubiously constitution if the key prerequisite is proving minority status.

H/T Mili