I was talking with some friends from the Repeal Coalition in Arizona – an organization dedicated to repealing all anti-immigrant legislation – just after DHS introduced the idea of stripping Maricopa County’s 287(g) agreement. I asked them if they thought this was a large victory for the immigration rights activists and undocumented peoples of Phoenix. Considering the terror Sheriff Joe Arpaio has caused to undocumented communities I assumed that stripping Joe Arpaio of his federal immigration enforcement powers would be a great success. Somewhat to my surprise my friends said they didn’t think it would make a difference.
“It will only inflame the far right here,” one friend explained.
In addition, they said Sheriff Arpaio would not stop conducting raids. While I still consider it a success that the federal government stopped entrusting Arpaio to enforce immigration, they were absolutely right to say that it would not stop him.
We saw in an article I cross-posted over a week ago, that Sheriff Joe Arpaio was caught saying, ‘clothes, speech and conduct help determine if someone is illegal’. Even more recently CNN revealed Joe Arpaio admitting to racial profiling. Despite allegations of racial profiling making their way into the mainstream, Arpaio has communicated very clearly that he will continue to use his deputies to enforce immigration laws. According to a document that Arpaio found on the anti-immigrant group FAIR’s website, his deputies have the authority under federal law to detain illegal aliens during the course of their duties. The document he cited from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) website was later deemed invalid. FAIR admitted the fallacy of the document in a recent report.
While Arpaio has been called out recently in the public for his unruly and racial discriminatory conduct, and for reporting false documents, he has not stepped back. On the contrary, he carried out his twelfth crime sweep last Friday.
“The authority ran out at midnight Thursday. Friday I went into another crime suppression operation,” said Arpaio. “We did the same thing we were doing in the other 11 (operations) under the 287g agreement. Nothing has changed. We arrested 66 people, out of 66 we arrested 30 who were illegal aliens…”
According to Arpaio he has “arrested and detained over 33,000 illegal aliens, 25 percent of the whole country under that agreement (287(g)). Evidently Washington doesn’t like our success. Maybe we’re too successful. So they wiped out my street enforcement authority under that agreement.”
Sheriff Arpaio will not let the federal government stop him. Just last spring he indicated that he will not back down, noting that the law is behind him. Amongst the anti-immigrant community in Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has the support to continue. What will it take to stop him? My friends from Repeal Coalition suggest setting the stakes higher and calling for the right for all humans to “live, love and work wherever you please”.