Dispatches from Phoenix: “287(g)+Arpaio=Terror”

By Guest Columnist Mar 12, 2009

by Valéria Fernandez (photos by Valéria Fernandez) Local activists and community groups in Arizona applauded the Department of Justice’s decision to start an investigation on the use of immigration powers by the Office of the Sheriff of Maricopa County (MCSO). During a conference yesterday morning, Members of Maricopa Citizens for Safety and Accountability (MCSA) and ACORN said the sheriff’s crackdown on illegal immigration has resulted in discrimination and racial profiling against Latinos. The group paid him a visit at the 19th floor of the Wells Fargo building in downtown Phoenix delivering “pink slips” calling for his resignation. “Arizona public policies have been the testing laboratory on anti-immigration policy and they have been exported to other states,” said Roberto Reveles, immigrant advocate and ex president of the coalition Somos America. “Likewise what’s happening today it’s going to show that there’s have been something going on very badly awry on how this public policy has been perverted not only by the State Legislature but by local enforcement of federal 287(g).” Jack McIntyre, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office said the investigation by the Department of Justice was “no big deal.” “The motivation [for the investigation] is the constant repetitions of misrepresentations by groups who have their own ax to grind against the enforcement of United States laws as they exist in Arizona, “ said McIntyre. “They need to go to the ballot box if they want to change the law.” Valéria Fernandez is a reporter based in Phoenix, Arizona.