By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
So you're the new Immigration and Customs Enforcement honcho in town, replacing a rico suave ICE chief by the name of Alonzo Pena, and first thing you do in public is deep-massage your tonsils with your toes.
That's the smooth move the newbie head of AZ ICE, Matthew Allen, pulled as Sheriff Joe Arpaio was terrorizing the little town of Guadalupe with one of his racial profiling dragnets, stopping every brown hombre and chica in sight for bogus reasons, so his deputy dawgs could check for immigration status.
The sheriff has 160 ICE-trained deputies, who operate under a 287g agreement with the feds allowing MCSO beige-shirts to enforce federal immigration law under specific circumstances. ICE's Web site states these 287g-men are empowered to pursue "violent crimes."
But recent events have demonstrated that Nickel Bag Joe's using his federal powers to go after such pettiness as cracked windshields and driving sans headlights, making these infractions the pretext to inquire as to whether somone's here illegally.
Naturally, Joe ain't pulling these shenanigans in Scottsdale or Sun City. Rather, Joe sets up his mobile command post where there are loads of people the shade of George Lopez. It's the brown he's after. He's not worrying about refugees from The Great White North, meaning Canada, a.k.a. "America's Hat."
Joe's targeting of Guadalupe was as blatant as a billy club to the cranium. While The Bird was monitoring the operation with an ad hoc group of citizens determined to track the MCSO's every move, this rascally raven witnessed countless vehicles stopped for next to nothing. This being Guadalupe, where almost everyone is either Yaqui Indian or of Mexican descent, the alleged scofflaws had one thing in common — how dark they looked versus the pale-faced deputies issuing them crap citations (like for a kaput license plate light, for instance).
Are these the violent crimes the 287g agreement was meant to cover? According to ICE-head Allen, yes.
"[The sheriff] has stayed within the bounds of the agreement," Allen recently told the press.
Worse than Allen was ICE official Jim Pendergraph, who claimed to have visited Arpaio's operation and opined, "I saw nothing that gave me heartburn."
Pendergraph must have a gullet made of rock. Or eye sockets sealed with lead.
On the first night of the Guadalupe operation, The Bird rode with MCSO-monitors Dennis Gilman and Melissa LePiane, who dogged Sheriff's Office vehicle stops by parking their car and easing up on deputies with a video camera to document what transpired. In one case, a Cuban-American named Addiel Pe-Arcia was halted right outside his home and cited for a barely noticeable cracked tail light.
Don't believe this dodo? Check the pic of Pe-Arcia in the slide show at phoenixnewtimes.com. You'll need a magnifying glass to see the crack.
Or take the case of the Family Salazar, halted because they honked their car horn in solidarity with the 200 or so protesters who had gathered outside the Family Dollar store on Calle Mexico, where the MCSO had established camp.
"Illegal horn honking" was a fave citation of the eve, netting such Guadalupe residents as Andrew Sanchez, with whom this nightingale conversed much later on.
However, Mama Salazar, who was doing the driving, ultimately was cited for not having proof of current registration. She had it at home and will surely beat the rap by showing it at the courthouse. Her daughter, Rosario Salazar, 24, summed up the situation:
"It's bullshit! They're not stopping Chinese people or African-Americans. They're not stopping anybody besides Mexicans."
Most of them Mexican-Americans, The Bird might note.
The most egregious example of the MCSO's abuses came not during The Bird's night run with MCSO-watchers, but from its encounter with Elena Osuna, who held an anti-Arpaio sign outside the wire fence encircling the Family Dollar parking lot. Osuna, a full-blood Yaqui Indian, said she was halted by two deputies as she made her way to the demo on foot.
"They asked for my ID and stuff," she explained. "For what? You know what I mean? I was minding my own business coming over here. What are they going to give me a ticket for? For walking?"
Maybe for Walking While Brown. Though deputies let Osuna off the hook that night.
Is this why ICE granted Arpaio's goons this 287g status? To stop Hispanics from WWB? Maybe ICE is okay with Arpaio's terrorizing whole communities. Arpaio's ethnic cleansing continued the next day into the early evening, as Bishop Thomas Olmstead presided over the confirmations of scores of local children at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.
Channel 12 reported that 10 percent of the children didn't show to the service. Deacon Santino Bernasconi informed 12 News reporter Veronica Sanchez that, "[The children] are fearful of coming here. They're fearful of being arrested and being deported."
So ICE-boy Allen waltzes into town and immediately sides with the most corrupt, sadistic law enforcement entity in Arizona, one that frightens little kids and harasses average Joses with impunity. What's next on the agenda, Matt? Got any puppies you wanna kick?
Ever see that Peter Sellers flick The Mouse That Roared, in which a tiny, imaginary country declares war on the United States and ends up winning? Something similar happened the other day when Guadalupe Mayor Rebecca Jimenez got in the angry, spitting face of mean ol' Joe Arpaio, and — amazingly — forced him into a tactical retreat.