Spanish-language Elgin Facebook page created after controversy
A new Spanish-language Facebook page about Elgin was created after criticism that administrators of the "What's Happening in Elgin, IL?" page deleted posts and news stories about immigration enforcement.
Elgin resident Berenice Carbajal, 21, a student at Northern Illinois University, on Friday created the page "Que está pasando en Elgin, IL?" -- the name is a translation of the English page -- and already it has more than 2,700 members.
Carbajal said she started her page after she posted Friday on "What's Happening in Elgin, IL?" a link to a news story by Spanish-language Univision Chicago about agents from U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement being in Elgin that day. Her post was deleted, as were multiple similar ones, and people were getting angry, saying it was about racism against Latinos, Carbajal said.
"I wanted to take the initiative to create another page for Hispanic members and anyone else who wanted to join the page, but without the racism," she said.
Kevin Ketchum, who created the "What's Happening in Elgin, IL?" page that now has nearly 52,000 members and seven administrators, fought back against claims of racism, calling them "utterly false and, frankly, outrageous."
The posts about immigration enforcement were deleted for two reasons, Ketchum said: The first was, as per practice, due to multiple duplicate posts. "It really destroys the user experience. It's like getting spammed," he said. The second was because of inappropriate and racist posts in the comments section, he said.
"When the comments section becomes so controversial and gets infected with racial or other slurs, we shut it down. It is a lot of work to monitor every comment, particularly spread out over 30-some identical posts on a controversial subject."
Some of the deleted posts included links to a Daily Herald report. Federal immigration officers were at Metro Staff Inc. in Elgin, which was accused by federal authorities of working with a Streamwood sheet metal fabrication company to employ undocumented immigrants. There were no arrests at Metro Staff Inc. in Elgin, but four current and former operators of KSO MetalFab Inc. in Streamwood, three of them Elgin residents, were arrested. Both companies declined to comment.
Ketchum said the decision was to clear everything and repost the Daily Herald report "so the comments could be monitored more precisely and bad actors identified and removed," he said. "Is it too much to ask for everyone to just be civil?" he wrote on Facebook.
The Daily Herald has no affiliation with Ketchum's page.
Ketchum said he wasn't aware of the Univision story, or he would have reposted that, too.
Carbajal said she understands keeping track of multiple posts with hundreds of comments must have been difficult. She said there were no racist comments on her post when it was taken down, and posts made by non-Latinos and racist comments were not deleted as quickly as posts made by Latinos.
Her Spanish-language page, which also has seven administrators, is for Latinos "to have a space where they can share how they feel, and any comments, any recommendations they might need. People can post their local business on that page. It's just a page to support one another."
A different page called "Que Esta Pasando En Elgin, IL?" was created by someone else in June. It has 265 members.