Sheriff Arpaio’s ugly publicity stunt: Obama’s immigration reform wake-up call?

On Feb. 4, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County marched shackled immigrants in black-striped jail uniforms through the streets of Phoenix from the Durango Jail to a new Tent City he has erected to hold them, surrounded by an electric fence. The degrading spectacle was a blatant publicity stunt to promote Arpaio’s new Fox Reality Channel TV program. Meanwhile, Arizona’s ex-Gov. Janet Napolitano, the new Homeland Security secretary, has called for a review of immigration enforcement measures—including 287g, which allows local police to enforce federal civil immigration law. Maricopa County has entered into a 287g agreement with the federal government that gives Sheriff Arpaio broad powers to detain immigrants—whether or not they are accused of committing criminal offenses.

A Feb. 4 report on Arpaio’s publicity stunt in the Phoenix New Times notes:

Almost all of the men running the press gantlet were Hispanic. They wore striped uniforms, were chained to each other, and in some cases carried their belongings with them in paper or plastic sacks. Their garb read “UNSENTENCED,” a reminder that 70% of those in Joe’s jails have not been convicted of anything, and are simply awaiting trial.

Sheriff Arpaio is the target of more than 2,700 civil rights complaints and has a stack of 40,000 felony warrants backlogged on his desk because of his prioritization of immigrant-related stunts, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon complained in an opinion piece in the Arizona Republic Aug. 7, 2008.

Douglas Rivlin of the National Immigration Forum, writing on AlterNet Feb. 9, sees the Phoenix situation as indicative of a national dilemma for the administration of President Barack Obama. The New York Times reports Feb. 3 that enforcement priorities at Homeland Security have shifted to non-criminal immigrants over criminals and terrorism suspects. On Jan. 11, the NY Times reported that federal prosecutions for non-violent immigration offenses are crowding out federal prosecutions for felonies, including violent crimes and drug offenses. Rivlin calls these findings “a red flag for Secretary Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder that the priorities they inherited from the Bush administration are seriously out of whack.”

President Obama and congressional leaders need to recognize that until realistic immigration reform legislation is on track in Congress, the pressure to divert law enforcement and criminal justice resources away from criminals and toward non-criminal immigrants will continue.

The immigration-reform website America’s Voice and ACORN are calling for a federal investigation of Sheriff Arpaio’s practices. Click here to see ACORN’s letter asking House Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers to investigate Arpaio for civil rights abuses and “bring this Sheriff to justice!”

See our last posts on the politics of immigration and the struggle in Arizona.

  1. bull baiters, drug smugglers, wife beaters, cock fighters…
    It would be great if we could just filter out that 2% of the immigrants who were good people but it is just not possible. TB and Bird Flu carrying 30% and baby factory women who have 14 kids and counting that they can’t take care of is the norm. Just say no to “people” who want to enter the USA. Sterilize them all upon entry at the border.

    1. …and Nazis
      Sterilize them, eh? How does it feel to be emulating the Nazis? From the Virtual Jewish Library page on “Nazi Persecution of the Mentally and Physically Disabled“:

      The “sterilization Law” explained the importance of weeding out so-called genetic defects from the total German gene pool:

      Since the National Revolution public opinion has become increasingly preoccupied with questions of demographic policy and the continuing decline in the birthrate. However, it is not only the decline in population which is a cause for serious concern but equally the increasingly evident genetic composition of our people. Whereas the hereditarily healthy families have for the most part adopted a policy of having only one or two children, countless numbers of inferiors and those suffering from hereditary conditions are reproducing unrestrainedly while their sick and asocial offspring burden the community.

      Some scientists and physicians opposed the involuntary aspect of the law while others pointed to possible flaws. But the designation of specific conditions as inherited, and the desire to eliminate such illnesses or handicaps from the population, generally reflected the scientific and medical thinking of the day in Germany and elsewhere.

      Nazi Germany was not the first or only country to sterilize people considered “abnormal.” Before Hitler, the United States led the world in forced sterilizations. Between 1907 and 1939, more than 30,000 people in twenty-nine states were sterilized, many of them unknowingly or against their will, while they were incarcerated in prisons or institutions for the mentally ill. Nearly half the operations were carried out in California. Advocates of sterilization policies in both Germany and the United States were influenced by eugenics. This sociobiological theory took Charles Darwin’s principle of natural selection and applied it to society. Eugenicists believed the human race could be improved by controlled breeding.

      Still, no nation carried sterilization as far as Hitler’s Germany. The forced sterilizations began in January 1934, and altogether an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 people were sterilized under the law. A diagnosis of “feeblemindedness” provided the grounds in the majority of cases, followed by schizophrenia and epilepsy. The usual method of sterilization was vasectomy and ligation of ovarian tubes of women. Irradiation (x-rays or radium) was used in a small number of cases. Several thousand people died as a result of the operations, women disproportionately because of the greater risks of tubal ligation.

      Most of the persons targeted by the law were patients in mental hospitals and other institutions. The majority of those sterilized were between the ages of twenty and forty, about equally divided between men and women. Most were “Aryan” Germans. The “Sterilization Law” did not target socalled racial groups, such as Jews and Gypsies, although Gypsies were sterilized as deviant “asocials,” as were some homosexuals. Also, about 500 teenagers of mixed African and German parentage (the offspring of French colonial troops stationed in the Rhineland in the early 1920s) were sterilized because of their race, by secret order, outside the provisions of the law.

      Although the “Sterilization Law” sometimes functioned arbitrarily, the semblance of legality underpinning it was important to the Nazi regime. More than 200 Hereditary Health Courts were set up across Germany and later, annexed territories. Each was made up of two physicians and one district judge. Doctors were required to register with these courts every known case of hereditary illness. Appeals courts were also established, but few decisions were ever reversed. Exemptions were sometimes given artists or other talented persons afflicted with mental illnesses. The “Sterilization Law” was followed by the Marriage Law of 1935, which required for all marriages proof that any offspring from the union would not be afflicted with a disabling hereditary disease.

      Only the Roman Catholic Church, for doctrinal reasons, opposed the sterilization program consistently; most German Protestant churches accepted and often cooperated with the policy. Popular films such as Das Erbe (“Inheritance”) helped build public support for government policies by stigmatizing the mentally ill and the handicapped and highlighting the costs of care. School mathematics books posed such questions as: “The construction of a lunatic asylum costs 6 million marks. How many houses at 15,000 marks each could have been built for that amount?”

      God bless America.

      1. bringing Bill Weinberg up to speed…
        Actually Bill, if Hitler had been successful the Palestinians would not have been killed by Jews who survived Hitler only to go on and kill millions of Arabs after the war up until the present day. Hitler was obviously on to something about Jews that was ignored at the expense of Palestinians and Lebanese. It is time to stop supporting Jews in the United States like dear uncle Bernie Madoff and his clients at Gold-Sacks who are without the capacity of love and instead steal from everyone in sight and then send the money to Israel to kill Arabs. The interesting dynamic of Jews here in the United States is that they use their money to bribe the Congress to give money to Israel then Israel gives the money to Jews in America through AIPAC allowing them to dominate the political and mercantile landscape. Then through AIPAC they bribe Congress again and then more money goes to Israel. The non-Jews in America are robbed by Jews in this way year after year. The Jews have become the dominant financial force through this annual cycle of greed and stealing. Americans are being bled bone dry by these literal blood-sucking leeches. How much money did you get from Israel this year? How did your family get filthy rich? How many of your dull children and relatives are planning to take that American taxpayer money you stole in order to live in a West Bank settlement in Palestine and on the outskirts of Gaza and kill Palestinians in their own lands. You and your ilk disgust me. If you want to save your worthless soul, renounce Abraham and enter the brotherhood of men on planet Earth. The Thirteenth Tribe has been an invading and occupying force in Palestine since they slithered out of the Khazar steppe region at the base of the Urals.
        Your kind have been stealing and killing and lying about your origins for several millennia. You seem to think that you are “the chosen people” and that everybody else is just some rube to be fleeced. You invented usury and the credit default swap in order to take, take, take. It is really fortunate that you don’t have love or compassion in your genes otherwise you would all have died of shame many,many centuries ago.

        Moving on from the Jewish invasion of Palestine to the newer Mexican invasion of the United States.

        The “self-hating liberal” accepting attitudes of the immigrant invasion will hopefully cave-in when Central American miliary tuberculosis, tuberculosis meningitis, and the H5N1 to H5N7 avian flu variations provide wave after wave of epidemics from which we have no protection. In Richmond, California where I live and occasionally teach, students entering schools are given PPD tests for tuberculosis but the illegals who jump the border do not take the test and their infection rate is 30% positive. These folks have zero consciousness on health issues and are uneducated on matters of public health.

        An ESL magnet school nearby has a faculty of 30; and 23 have contracted a strain of avian flu from the students. The students are traveling back and forth to Mexico all the time and getting reinfected and are not being tested upon reentry. Nearly every immigrant household harbors one to several illegal border crossers who are not tested for anything and who in turn infect their sequestering saviors. The children are then exposed to TB and H5N and they go to school and infect everyone they come in contact with on the bus and in the classroom and lunchroom.

        Hence there is a flu epidemic with no available public health program to meet the threat. Out of those 23 teachers who have the flu only two have kicked it. The rest think it will just go away. It doesn’t, it progresses to pneumonia and fills the lung cavity with fluid. How many people did you see today who are coughing quietly while driving their bus or riding their bus? You can spend a few hours out in Richmond and see the coughing dozens of times. You ask these legal American folks if they had flu shots and they say “yes”. But they are sick and can only be treated by antibiotics and think that they have a “cold”. 95% of colds are allergies but these diseases began before the pollen season began.

        There is a new tuberculosis which has attached itself to Mexican cattle and is being transmitted by Mexican “bathtub” queso fresco (fresh cheese). This tuberculosis has the ability to cross infect from one species to another. Pork is also a new avenue for infection with the disease and the biological similarity of the human and the pig makes this even more problematic.

        American citizens are now being asked to house and feed and clothe and care for the Mexican poor as they are being forced out of Mexico by the government. And their Mexican propaganda machine is running 24-7 accusing American citizens who object, -of racism. What is really occurring is that America is now the human dumping ground of the hemisphere taking the overflow for the patrician governments and elites of the world; -just like the Brits cleaned out their country and prisons and sent them on ships to America to get rid of their problems. Except for the pre-Columbian native Americans, nearly everybody got here the same way.

        The cycle needs to stop now. We need to demand the rest of the world take complete responsibility for their ineffective public health programs and not allow them to send any more of their tired, poor, and sick to the United States. The first solution to this problem is population control through education and strong borders. When you add in the effects of Mexican heroin and cocaine from Central America the conclusion is inescapable if our families are to survive, we have to “just say no” to all Central American immigrants. Mow your own damn grass. Take care of your own kids. Clean your own house and stop being a stranger to honest hard work.

        1. You fools
          How easily the barely literate American right wing are confused.
          The Zionists are mere pawns of Gothenburg.

          And if you’re so worried about the Mexicans, lose some weight.

        2. “Hitler was obviously on to something” ???
          It truly frightens me to know that you are a teacher of children, and that your captive audience of students are being exposed to a nitwit bigot during class hours.

          I only wish I knew the school at which you teach; I would “out” you to the administrators in a half-second.

          Please don’t breed and create any more mental defectives. Yours is the gene pool that needs to be “cleansed.”

  2. Sheriff Arpaio
    The Sheriff is doing his job. ALL County Sheriff’s should be doing the same thing. The illegal alien situation needs to be settled, and right now! Aside from everything else, they are a hugh financial drain on our eroding assets.

    1. Sherrif overreaching
      he’s doing this for two reasons…one Political favor among hard core anti immigrationist commonly found in AZ, and allegedly for his Television…..

      His job is to keep safe and secure the residents of the jurisdiction he was elected/appointed to protect and defend and keep the peace….with 40thousand outstanding warrants..whom i’m sure some are probably criminal aliens he guilty of dereliction of duty and putting at hazard the lives and property of those county residents he swore to protect.

      You want law enforcement to be responsive to the local residents, if you scare away witnesses to crimes, then no one will come forward. I think we should round up employers who hire illegal aliens….

      If an illegal alien cant find work, then he wont come to this country…just look at how Latin American countries enforce their borders..they’re possible even more restrictive for foreign workers…similar policy attitudes should prevail and be enforced here as well. But its much easier to go after the indigent, ignorant and uneducated who happen to be working within our borders.

      I say punish the taking away business license and forcing fines. The Sherrif is out of line and is selectively enforcing someone elses duties.

      1. Why don’t you go look at those 40k warrants
        More than 50% of those are related to illegals. He’s doing this to bring the public eye back to the unbelievable situation happening on our borders! Just look at the illegals that are suing the Texas rancher because the where trespassing and got caught! This case has already made it past one Latino run justice department in AZ. This is an invasion supported by the Mexican government. Many illegals can collect Social Security and they still live in Mexico!

        1. Why don’t you learn how to write?
          “the where trespassing”? Perhaps you mean “they were trespassing”? Why is it always you Anglo chauvinists who have the poorest command of the English language? Life’s little ironies.

          Oh, and way to go on glorifying human rights abuses. We hope your rancher pal loses his shirt.

          1. Lose your shirt?
            And I hope you lose your job and shirt! I lost two jobs to Mexico, when the two factories I worked at moved to Mexico. My salary is now half of the salary I used to make. IBM since moved to China. How does that make you feel?

            1. You need to think a little
              How are Mexicans to blame for the fact the corporate bosses are exporting our jobs to where the labor is cheaper? Blame the bosses, not the workers they exploit.