Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Stages Immigrant-Degradation March for the Cameras



This blog is a project of The Immigration Policy Center... (read more)
February 4, 2009

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Phoenix, Arizona, seems to have an appetite for publicity so insatiable that it overrides both rationality and morality. His latest stunt—announced yesterday in an official press release, no less—comes today, when he will order “approximately 200 illegal aliens to be chained and marched” from the Durango Jail to a segregated area of his “Tent City” incarceration complex. Lest one be fooled into believing that this is a legitimate law—enforcement operation, Arpaio’s press release includes details on the parade route and where “interested media” should park to cover this spectacle of degradation.

According to Arpaio, marching chained immigrants from prison cells to tents surrounded by electric fencing will save money because it’s cheaper to house inmates in tents than in a traditional jail. However, Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox notes that Arpaio “doesn’t outline how he’ll save costs.” Acting County Manager Sandi Wilson says that if Arpaio is “coming up with budget savings, he ought to offer it up. At this point, he hasn’t. And this doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Arpaio’s claim to be genuinely concerned about the county budget is undermined by more than his apparent glee at the “shock” undocumented immigrants will receive if they attempt to scale the electric fence in which they will be enclosed. It is also contradicted by his well-documented history as a profligate spender of taxpayer money who prefers political grandstanding to serious law enforcement. As the Immigration Policy Center notes in a December 2008 fact sheet, investigations by the East Valley Tribune and the conservative Goldwater Institute have found that, under Arpaio’s leadership, the budget of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has nearly doubled since 2001, yet “response times to 911 calls have increased, arrest rates have dropped, and thousands of felony warrants have not been served.” Meanwhile, “hundreds of undocumented immigrants have been arrested for smuggling themselves, often when their vehicles are stopped for burned-out license plate lights or for traffic violations.”

Sheriff Arpaio’s newest media extravaganza at the expense of immigrants certainly won’t do anything to stop undocumented immigration or to reduce serious crime in his community. But it may help drum up even more publicity for Arpaio himself and further endear him to anti-immigrant activists. And perhaps that is what this is all about.



FIRM is a project of the Center for Community Change

Stop the Abuse. Stop Joe Arpaio.

February 4, 2009 ·

Today at 1pm, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the infamous bad boy of Maricopa County, AZ is slated to march 220 immigrant inmates from the Durango Jail, through the streets of Phoenix to the “Tent City” that the sheriff has set up. These people will literally be shackled, mocked, taunted and marched through the streets like animals. And he’s sent out a press release and invited the media to cover this horrific event.

This is a new low, even for Sheriff Joe. I have documented many of his outrageous and racist tactics here at Standing FIRM - click here, here and here for more stories. And be sure to check out IPC’s fact sheet on Joe - who’s unchecked power is obviously spiralling out of control. This comes on the heels of previously classified documents being released that prove ICE’s abusive tactics in immigration raids have been ineffective and their violations have gone unprosecuted. For more on this click here.

Isn’t this America? Don’t we believe that all people were “created equal”? Do we not believe in human rights, civil rights? How can we stand by and allow human beings to become props in this megalomaniac’s reality TV show?

We are talking about a man that has said he was “honored” to the KKK, a man who has allowed dangerous criminals to go unscathed because of his obsession with targeting undocumented immigrants and a man who’s ego and power are spiralling quickly out of control

There must be vigilance of Sheriff Joe, otherwise what comes next? As Duke at the Santcuary stated earlier today:

Forced marches in chains, outdoor tent cities surrounded by electrified fences, forced labor on chain gangs as punishment for misbehavior … all that’s missing from this nightmare scene are the search lights and trained attack dogs….but who knows, maybe Arpaio has those also.

Sheriff Joe must be held accountable. CLICK HERE to sign a petition demanding that the Department of Justice investigate Arpaio and his racist, xenophobic and hateful tactics. We must demand an end to this. We will not allow extremism and racism to be tolerated. The need for comprehensive immigration reform is URGENT, otherwise these loose canons like Sheriff Joe will continue to exploit immigrants.

ICE Raids Shift Focus: Policy Bends to Politics
ACTION NEEDED: Tell your Senator to Vote NO on any E-verify amendments in the Stimulus Bill

Powered by FeedBurner

No comments: