Tag Archives: maricopa county

FBI Investigation: The beginning of the end for Sheriff Joe?

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There has been a video circulating the web in the past week that features the story of an FBI investigation that is gathering momentum against our friend Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County, Arizona.

We’ve tracked the long list of allegations leveled at Sheriff Joe; racial profiling, civil rights violations, a proven disregard for Federal law. But now, Arpaio is being investigated for yet another wrongdoing. From ThinkProgress:

This weekend, news reports revealed that the FBI is investigating whether Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been “using his position to settle political vendettas” against those who have been critical of his controversial tactics, namely his bullish pursuit of undocumented immigrants.

It seems as though Arpaio has decided the same scare tactics and bullying that he uses against undocumented immigrants, could also work against any of his critics or enemies: including those investigating Arpaio’s many alleged abuses.

Check out the video here:

Its worth nothing that Sheriff Arpaio refused to be interviewed on camera for this piece, a remarkable change in attitude from a man who was once gunning (pun intended) for his own reality show and who executes his own press conferences and legal maneuvers with all the pageantry of an actors on stage.

Earlier this week, Nezua at the Unapologetic Mexican summarized it quite nicely:

Watch this video above, and marvel at how the rogue cop can scoff off two major concurrent investigations by both the USDOJ and the FBI! Methinks hethinks he is his own lil country. And maybe he is. For now. Then again, I bet there was a day the T-Rex thought he’d walk the planet forever.

This man thinks he is invincible and that’s not only what makes him terrifying, its also what will eventually bring him down.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio: Can we shut this guy down yet?

Though I caught wind of this story last week, I just sat down to do some research this morning and all I can say is “Are you KIDDING me?!?!”. Last week Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has made a name for himself by hunting down the “illegals” of Maricopa County, Arizona, admitted that clothing, conduct and speech are the characteristics that help him determine the immigration status of potential targets. He may as well have said “Well, I racially profile people. That’s how I know”. Incredible. Check out the clip below:

Arpaio is facing ever-increasing scrutiny over his immigration enforcement practices and is currently under a Department of Justice investigation for the countless allegations of racial profiling leveled at his agency. Apparently, Arpaio’s biggest defense was the Federal law he mentioned in the video above. The irony is, the Federal law that Arpaio cites as giving him the power to use these characteristics in his enforcement practices isn’t a law at all. In fact, its a legal analysis that was published by none other than FAIR, the anti-immigrant organization designated a hate group by the SPLC.

However, Matt Bunk of the Arizona Capitol Times points out that no such language exists in any federal immigration law and that the document that Arpaio continuously referenced and passed out at a press conference is actually a legal analysis published by a designated hate group, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

When questioned about this, Arpaio admitted that it “might not be a law” but that there was “definitely a law out there” that gave him the power to do this. Basically, Arpaio is admitting that he is operating OUTSIDE of the law and has pledged that he will continue to do so, regardless of how far the administration goes in reigning in his powers.

In fact, even though the government has stripped Arpaio’s authority to conduct immigration raids in Maricopa County, he has promised that today he will be conducting one of his famous sweeps. No word yet on if that’s happened, but it’s clear that this man’s power needs to be taken away. Senator Jose M. Serrano had a letter to the editor published in today’s New York Times, where he gets to the heart of the issue:

…Extremists like Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, are just part of the problem; federal policies that empower these men represent the underlying threat to immigrant communities.

The system is broken. And the longer it waits to be fixed, the more dangerous this threat will become.

[via Andrea Nill at Think Progress]

Catching up: Arpaio, detention reform and veterans facing deportation

I have been in San Francisco (thus the picture) for the past few days at a training with the New Organizing Institute. The training was a wonderful experience and I met some amazing people doing very exciting and important work (more on this later). But being away from the blogosphere for even a few days always stresses me out. So much has happened while I’ve been gone. There are a couple of things I want to write full-length posts on, but in the mean time, I’m going to do a quick round up of updates and news.

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First things first, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, long time Latino terrorize in Maricopa County, has lost some of his swagger! It was decided that Arpaio is to be stripped of his power to arrest undocumented immigrants in the county. What this actually means is that he can no longer racially profile and target people of a certain skin color. Though Arpaio says that he will continue to conduct raids, this is at least a step in the right direction coming from the Department of Homeland Security. Read more about it here and here.

Next up, this week the Department of Homeland Security announced its plans for reform of the nation’s immigrant detention system. DHS announced its outlines for reform this past Tuesday. And, like I’ve said before, they are certainly a step in the right direction. However, they will not be effective unless they are incorporated into a comprehensive reform of the full immigration system in this country. Kevin Johnson from NILC sums it up nicely here:

The DHS announcement today identifies several of the steps the agency must make to create a “truly civil system” and correctly notes that our current immigration enforcement programs “identify large volumes of aliens with low level convictions or no convictions” who should not be the focus of immigration enforcement efforts. The detention system can’t be viewed in isolation from how immigration enforcement is conducted.

Read more about proposed detention reform here and here.

In other news, Marisa Treviño from Latina Lista reports on the over 3,000 veterans who have fought for a country that won’t even make them citizens. And to repay them? They are now battling deportation. Read her full post here. And also check out the Reform Immigration FOR America blog’s write-up of  a new documentary on military families being torn apart of the broken immigration system. Those who risk their lives for our country deserve better – and as Marisa points out they even  “deserve extra kudos because their volunteerism runs much deeper than someone who is a citizen.”

Last on the list (which is by no means exhaustive) is a report that was released by the U.N. on Monday. The report’s main finding is simple: migrants contribute much more to their new countries than they take. For more on this check out CAUSA Oregon’s blog and listen to their podcast. So for all of the folks out there who continue to shout about immigrants who are “draining” our country, listen up!

ACTION: Kick Arpaio OUT of the 287g program

From our friends at America’s Voice:

Enough is enough. Tell Secretary Napolitano to stop letting Sheriff Arpaio operate outside the law. Ask her to kick him out of the 287-g program, which allows Arpaio’s deputies to become local immigration agents.

Sign the petition, now, and please forward it to your friends!

And if you need a reminder of WHY Arpaio should be kicked out of the program, click here, here or simply watch the video below:

Reporters Win Pulitizer for Work on Arpaio, Colbert Asks for ID

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In 2007, reporters Paul Giblin and Ryan Gabrielson began investigating Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona. Their findings (as many of you know) were that Arpaio’s hellbent focus on hunting down undocumented immigrants was detrimental to overall public safety in the county. The  five-piece set of articles entitled “Reasonable Doubt” highlighted the racial profiling inherent in Arpaio’s 287(g) campaign.

With the help of an editor, the two exposed slow response times to emergencies and reduced law enforcement as the sheriff dedicated more of his agency’s resources to seeking out and arresting illegal immigrants.

Yesterday, it was announced that the two reporters were awarded a Pulitzer Prize for their work on Sheriff Joe. Meanwhile, Joe himself made an appearance on the Colbert Report. Barely coherent, the nation’s toughest Sheriff bumbled his way through Colbert’s questions and seemed oblivious that the two reporters who had done such a compelling expose of his hypocrisy even existed. Click here to watch the video (I will embed later).

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Colbert took it easy on him, since it was clear Arpaio had no real answers to even the simplest questions. Avoiding the truth about Arpaio’s backlogs of warrants, thousands of complaints of racial profiling and egregiously press-hungry efforts to self-publicize,  Colbert asked

“How do you determine that someone might be Hispanic without using your eyeballs?…How do you do it?  Do you have a secret sixth sense that you’re going to ask for one guy’s ID, and not another?”

Arpaio never gave a clear answer to that question. And though Colbert did ask for his ID, multiple times, it was never really clear whether Arpaio knew he was being mocked.

While I would have loved to see Colbert rip him to shreds, I am at least satisfied with Arpaio’s own attempts to make himself look incompetent. They were effective.

Congratulations to Giblin and Gabrielson for their Pulitzer Prizes, they deserve them for going after a villian like Arpaio. Let’s hope this draws more attention to the injustices facing the immigrant community across the country.

ACTION: Sheriff Joe Must GO!

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From our friends at Rights Working Group:

Actions Speak Louder Than Words:  Terminate Arpaio’s 287(g) Contract

Support the National Day Laborers Organizing Network’s action to call on Secretary Napolitano to terminate Arpaio’s 287(g) contract.

To call on Secretary Napolitano to terminate Arpaio’s 287(g) agreement, click here.

In recent months, the hard work of many has raised the profile of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the most infamous Sheriff since Bull Connor, as the ugliest face of the failed national 287(g) program.  The Sheriff’s march of migrant  inmates in a chain gang the New York Times described as “ritual humiliation” revealed the racial profiling and terror he’s carried out on Maricopa County, and made urgent the need for federal intervention.

40,000 people recently signed petitions condemning his actions.  5,000 people marched peacefully in Phoenix on February 28 demanding federal intervention.  Our voices have been heard.  The Department of Justice formally launched an investigation of Sheriff Arpaio.  The GAO has declared the 287(g) program a disaster.  And on April 2, the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Congressman Conyers, held hearings revealing the 287(g) program has endangered communities and led to racial profiling on a scale this country has not seen in a generation.

Yet, Sheriff Joe continues to terrorize Maricopa County, taunting the federal government, and daring them to act.  We say, “Enough is enough!”  President Obama and his Secretary of Homeland Security, former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, need to sever Arpaio’s 287(g) agreement now and restore safety and the rule of law to Maricopa County.

To call on Secretary Napolitano to terminate Arpaio’s 287(g) agreement, click here.

ACTION: Justice for Joe – What do you want to see?

We all remember America’s favorite sheriff, Mr. Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona. How could we forget the time he marched hundreds of inmates through the streets in chains to a tent city surrounded by electric fences? Or the time he said he was “honored” to be compared to the KKK? Or his many (MANY) accusations of racial profiling?

Lots of  you helped by petitioning the Department of Justice to investigate good old Joe and we need your help again. Tomorrow there will be a hearing in Congress to investigate the violations of civil rights under 287(g) (the law that allows Joe and others to locally enforce immigration laws). We want to know – what do you want to ask folks like Sheriff Joe?

20090331askjoeWhat issues do you think are most important for Members of Congress to investigate at the hearing? Is it ending racial profiling? Is it finding the best ways to ensure community safety?

Now is your chance to speak up. Visit http://americasvoiceonline.org/FIRMtoCongress to submit your questions and tell Members of Congress what you think the priority of the investigation should be.

Our partners at America’s Voice will be delivering your suggestions directly to Congress – so make your voice heard! This hearing is an important first step towards leaving behind the Bush enforcement-only era and pushing towards comprehensive immigration reform.

Visit http://americasvoiceonline.org/FIRMtoCongress to make sure Members of Congress are on the right track!

And be sure to tune into the hearing – you can watch live at http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/calendar.html – tomorrow, April 2nd at 10AM EST.