by Valeria Fernandez

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(photo courtesy of Valeria Fernandez)

It took guts to march on the streets of Phoenix this past Saturday. But that didn’t prevent the Zazueta family from joining a national call to put a stop on a federal program that turns local cops into immigration agents.

In Maricopa County, a traffic stop on the way to work can be a straight ticket back to Mexico.
“We may as well march,” said Jesus Zazueta. “[Living here] we never know which day we can get arrested.”

Jesus doesn’t have any papers. Many of his friends didn’t march in fear of America’s self-proclaimed Toughest Sheriff, Joe Arpaio. He has vowed to fight illegal immigration. Apparently, one traffic stop a time.

Jesus Jr. is 15 years old. As we marched, he revealed that his parents come here during the first year of his life and now America has become his home. He doesn’t know any other place.

His uncle–and best friend-died in Sinaloa, Mexico in the middle of a shootout of a drug cartel 7 months ago. He happened to be driving through the wrong place at the wrong time. This is the terror that people live with every day on the other side of our fenced border.

And it’s one good reason why many families like the Zazueta’s would rather stay in Arizona.

“Aquí lo que pasa nos da temor, pero allá está en peligro la vida de mis hijos,” says Zazueta.

He’d rather endure the persecution of a media thirsty sheriff in Maricopa County than put the life of his children in danger.

News to you Arpaio, you’re not so tough.

Valeria Fernandez is a reporter in Phoenix, Arizona.

Read this online at http://colorlines.com/archives/2009/03/dispatches_from_phoenix_terror.html


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