Order 1.4 was confusing and "written in a negative," Gordon said to New Times in January. It gave anti-immigration extremists "sort of a foundation to argue we are a sanctuary city. That we don't cooperate with the government."

The policy had to be changed, "but I knew everyone was going to be pissed at me," Gordon said, referring both to the aforementioned extremists and immigrant rights supporters.

The new policy, in which police ask the immigration status of everyone arrested, went into effect in May.

DPS' immigrant booking room.
Michael Ratcliff
DPS' immigrant booking room.
Michael Ratcliff

Mesa, the Valley's second-largest city, announced in July it would adopt similar changes.


To immigrants, the policy changes in combination with ICE's beefed-up deportation system have been a disaster.

At the Light and Life Day Labor Center in Chandler, undocumented workers say Arpaio is only one source of their troubles these days.

"Todo policía," says a man wearing a New York Yankees cap: "all the police."

Sergio Zelya, 56, a legal immigrant from El Salvador waiting for work with a group of undocumented Mexicans, says the increased deportations result in heartbreak and financial problems as family members become separated.

"It's different in L.A.," the California transplant says in English. "Here in Arizona is the problem. Everyone's scared."

Elias Bermudez, who runs the Centro de Ayuda immigrant-services company in Phoenix, says that whether it is the Sheriff's Office, DPS, or municipal police, "everybody is pushing hard to see how far they can go" with immigration enforcement.

"Truly, we have now created a police state in regard to undocumented people," Bermudez says. "And we are all going to suffer. We are losing clients, losing workers, losing friends, losing family."

Taxpayers will end up forking over big bucks from the inevitable lawsuits over civil rights abuses and, even though no police agency checks the status of crime victims or witnesses, the "chilling effect" on victims predicted by some in the Hispanic community has settled in, Bermudez says.

"All of our people right now mistrust every police department, regardless of what city it's from," he says.

Bermudez cynically notes that Phoenix's Chief Harris supposedly wants to hear from people who think they have been slighted by the system.

"Well, if they're in Mexico, how are they going to report?" he says.

Bermudez has a point, especially when it comes to possible abuses by county deputies who have been ordered by Joe Arpaio to go after illegal immigrants as aggressively as possible.

For example, take the case of Miguel Molina-Sepulveda, the man who was detained because he did not show ID after a deputy noticed he was not wearing a seat belt.

According to the September 4 report written by MCSO deputy R. Armendariz: "I saw the passenger sitting in the back bench seat sitting up towards the front and leaning on the passenger seat not wearing his seat belt."

He later writes that he charged Molina-Sepulveda with "non-driver failed to provide ID," based on the alleged seat belt violation.

But in Arizona, backseat passengers over the age of 16 are not required to wear seat belts.

When Captain Paul Chagolla, an Arpaio spokesman, was reminded of this, he responded by e-mail: "The records speak for themselves, and the individuals have the opportunity to face the court to determine guilt or innocence."

But it did not turn out that way. After Molina-Sepulveda spent four days in jail, the charges were dropped. Because of the ICE hold put on him, Molina-Sepulveda undoubtedly was deported. Odds are he will never file a complaint about the apparently invalid arrest.

A second report by Armendariz from the sheriff's Cave Creek sweep in early September details a similarly questionable arrest. About 6:30 a.m., an hour before Molina-Sepulveda's arrest, the deputy pulled over a white Ford "work truck" towing a generator on a trailer that had no registration or brake lights.

"During the traffic stop, I saw the backseat passenger sitting on the right side was not wearing his seat belt," Armendariz wrote. "I asked the rear passenger, a Hispanic male, for his identification and he told me he did not have one."

The man gave several names to the deputy, and a computer check turned up nothing under any of them. Armendariz listed him as "John Doe" in his report and arrested him. The Sheriff's Office put an ICE hold on the man — meaning he must have been later deported — and counted him in a press release as one of the 11 illegal immigrants busted that day.

John Doe will not be complaining, either.

Not that Arpaio or his supporters care about such troublesome details as the unfair arrest of an illegal immigrant. To them, the point is that he is out of here.


Though the tide has clearly turned toward more enforcement, most local police department officials believe the business of doing immigration work must be conducted with extreme caution to avoid bigoted behavior — and wasting time. The theory is, most of the effort should go toward targeting immigrants who commit egregious crimes or are members of organized crime syndicates.

Yet because it is average field officers who are collectively responsible for the most deportations, Phoenix's new policy is already under revision to deter crusading cops bent on hassling immigrants in lieu of normal police work.

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10 comments
dude
dude

"concerned citizen"... no one is buying your nonsense. We've already seen what happened to California as a result of mass illegal invasion, and we're not going to let the same thing happen to Arizona. Enough is enough.

If people have a problem with US employers or labor law, let them spend their time and lawsuit money on those issues, but AZ & US taxpayers and citizens are not going to tolerate being defrauded any longer. To insinuate that the half a million illegals in AZ all had a hand in constructing the infrastructure of the State of AZ is unfounded.

Most of these illegals are new arrivals, often just passing through before heading for the interior of the USA, so most them had no hand in building anything, and are just squatters, benefit and SS# thieves, and interlopers. Their presence here is illegal, and we expect our laws to be enforced.

If you and some of your rich friends made money off the labor of illegals, that is on your conscience, and you are free to relinquish your ill gotten gains into the coffers of La Raza, MeCha, or any of the other illegal alien enabling groups.

Just keep your hands off our tax money, our benefits, our laws, and our sovereignty. If you want to live in Mexico, or Mexifornia, then move there... stop trying to bring those places here, because we don't want it. The citizens have spoken in the legislature and at the ballot box, so please cease from pestering us with your sophistry.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

Arizona was built off the backs of immigrants legal and illegal. The corporations and state enjoyed prosperity because of the cheap labor. NAPTA has made the situation worse. Decades later at this late date, the elected officials have created fear, bigotry and division in what was once a fine community. By inflaming the public knee-jerks laws have been put in place that threatens all of our rights, not just those this group is targeting. This is citizen and Republican is not fooled by the tactics of Arpaio, his former underling Pearce, and his legal counsel County Attorney Andrew Thomas who tied up the courts and those he doesn't care for in ongoing, out of control litigation which cannot be sustained in a state and country that are in crisis.

The arrogance and abuse of power by Arpaio, Thomas, Pearce and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors must be brought to immediate halt if we are to survive as "free" people. Illegal immigration is another election "label" to mask the very serious issues facing people in Maricopa County and the State of Arizona, and the corruption which this state is well known for.

16 years is too long for any official to be in control. It's time for a new Sheriff, oversight and transparency in that office. We do not need people with God complexes running any office with our tax dollars. They serve us, not the other way around. Anyone who speaks out is subject to retaliation, as we can see incident after incident.

This Republican will vote for Dan Saban and hope he can restore the damage done to the Sheriff's office.

Deport Em
Deport Em

I applaud Arizona, Sheriff Joe and all the others who are finally taking a step in the right direction, which is finding, detaining and deporting illegals. Stopping them for minor traffic violations often turns up more that just that violation. Happens on COPS all the time. The ACLU should change their name to MCLU cause they are more interested in helping law breaking Mexicans than supporting American rule of law. I wish every state would take the hard line that Arizona has. The numbers show they ARE making a difference. I look forward to seeing Sheriff Joe re-elected and shoving that in the face of all the illegal lovers who want him voted out. If the illegals weren't breaking laws then they would not have to fear the police. They took the risk to break into our country, so they must all take fall if caught. Good job AZ and ICE. Keep up the good fight !!

Bobby
Bobby

The ACLU is a fraud and works day and night to usurp the rights of American citizens. They would have an endless amount of work just monitoring what the present administartion has done suspending Posse Commitatus, etc. but no, fighting for the rights of illegal alien foreign nationals is more important to them.

As for people like Mayor Gordon, Napolitano, Giffords and other non-representatives of the people, Arizonans get what they deserve. Honest people like Russel Pierce and so many others, are often ignored in favor of un-American idiots like the above. Even folks like Sheriff Arpaio are having to struggle to do the job he was elected to do, keeping the citizenry safe. One things for sure. We will sleep in the bed we made. Right? Liberals who are victims of the crimes of unregulated foreign nationals, need not come crying to more sensible and rational Americans.

Bobby
Bobby

All illegal alien Mexicans must be deported. They have arrogantly abused this nation and its citizen taxpayers enough now. No more street marches, document fraud, tax fraud, welfare fraud, lying, stealing and cheating. Americans have enough to do in trying to clear up the lying stealing and cheating on Wall Street and in the Congress and Senate.

Puzzled
Puzzled

Why does Stern and the New Times have a problem with our laws being enforced?

Why do they continue to advocate for lawbreakers, and propagandize against those enforcing our laws?

It's just sickening. We've already seen California destroyed by unrestrained illegal immigration, and now Stern and the New Times want to see Arizona destroyed in the same way.

Why?

Of what possible benefit is it to US Citizens in Arizona to allow this state to be overrun and eventually bankrupted by millions of illegal Mexicans?

Do we have some sort of obligation to allow our state and country to be overrun by illegals?

It just doesn't make any sense.

Omar Tentmaker
Omar Tentmaker

Author Ray Stern cannot bring himself to acknowledge that the new general-public endorsed immigration enforcement approaches, while admittedly imperfect and to some degree ineffective, are better than the open borders policy long allowed by the federal government.

I.B. Wundrin
I.B. Wundrin

When a person is in this country illegally, you cannot call deportation "punishment"! I'd call it a free ride back to where the person is a legal resident. Pretty humane treatment in my book.

Equity Court Services of Arizo
Equity Court Services of Arizo

"In two cases detailed in the ACLU lawsuit, Hispanic drivers and passengers appear to have been singled out by overly aggressive deputies trying to find illegal immigrants."

Mr. Stern, why didn't you state your real opinion that the lawsuit is frivolous and malicious? You wrote about it and gave us some solid information about the witnesses. We thank you.

Check out the filed papers in that case and you'll see a "Motion to Intervene" and a "Demand" that's detailed and credible. Why didn't you mention that? Noone on this end is kidding about it coming up for a hearing.

In terms of solutions, when was the last time you assisted an illegal with a USCIS remedy? No mention of that, just another crybaby comment about the DRO being in the same building. The filing of papers could PREVENT some people from going to the DRO Unit.

Advocacy journalism can be great, but it's undermined by such bias, inaccuracy, and deliberate omissions.

John "Johnny On The Spot" O'Sullivanfor "The Global Equity"

 
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