The American Artist: A Naturalized Citizen, Painter, and Valley Legal-System Translator, Ramon Delgadillo Was Refused Entry to Arpaio's Jail Because He Didn't Carry Proof of Citizenship

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Editor's note: This is one of a group of individual accounts of racial profiling by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's forces.

Ramon Delgadillo hardly fits the bill of those who have been profiled because of race or ethnicity by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's deputies.

Light-skinned, with hardly any accent to betray his Mexican roots, he comes across as someone who could be a professor of English lit at a Valley university. Though his hometown is Tijuana, Mexico, he has lived in America most of his life, and in 2000, he became an American citizen.

His home near Central and Camelback in Phoenix is large and tastefully decorated. Mayor Phil Gordon was once a neighbor. On the walls hang some of the big, brightly colored canvases he's known for painting. One of them, titled Taco Bombing, shows dark-blue planes dropping explosive Mexican vittles onto the world below.

Though Delgadillo has a bachelor's degree in art from ASU and has been featured in books such as Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Art, it's as a Spanish-language translator for the Maricopa County courts system that he's earned a living for more than a quarter-century. These days, the 60-year-old is semi-retired, though he still translates on a freelance basis for various lawyers, and sometimes the courts.

In 2007, Delgadillo became the center of a controversy over Sheriff Arpaio's then-newly instituted policy of barring illegal immigrants from visiting prisoners at county jails. Signs were posted at jail entrances advising the public that the undocumented were not allowed in. Forms for jail visitors inquired about immigration status.

During a routine trip to Lower Buckeye Jail to translate for a public defender meeting with a client, Delgadillo checked a box on the new entry form showing he is a naturalized U.S. citizen. But because he could offer no proof of his naturalization, he was refused admittance. This, even though he had presented his court ID to the guards.

"When you get your citizenship," Delgadillo said recently, "they don't tell you that you have to carry that paperwork always with you. And they don't say, 'There are two classes of citizens. The first class are the ones born here, the second are [those not born here].' You know, we have the same rights. There's no difference."

Indeed, once the press got the story, Arpaio had to admit the error, and the MCSO changed the form so that it did not discriminate against naturalized citizens. It was a rare moment of retreat for Arpaio. Nevertheless, the MCSO maintained its policy of threatening those here illegally with arrest if they dared visit someone held in his jails.

Delgadillo has not forgiven or forgotten the incident. He sees a direct link between the sort of prejudice toward Mexicans he has observed in Arizona, and in Arpaio's reactionary policies singling out Latinos. He openly abhors Arpaio's abuses of power, such as the MCSO's nighttime raid on the Mesa public library in 2008, and the recent incident involving MCSO detention officer Adam Stoddard (http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2009/12/detention_officer_adam_stoddar.php). In fact, Delgadillo happened to be on a translating assignment for another case, and was sitting in court when Stoddard swiped documents right off the desk of defense attorney Joanne Cuccia, in plain view of the court's video camera.

"I could not believe it," said Delgadillo. "I thought, 'What is this, [East] Germany? The Stasi? This is ridiculous."

Yet it was his outrage at the treatment of Latinos by the Sheriff's Office that inspired what may be his most provocative painting to date, Crucifixion, a four-by-six-foot image of an MCSO deputy pointing his pistol at a kneeling Mexican prisoner, who is dressed in black-and-white stripes. On the prisoner's outstretched palms are red stigmata. Around the prisoner's head is a golden aura indicating sainthood.

The piece is hanging at the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center in downtown Phoenix as part of its debut exhibit of Hispanic artists, "Visiones." Delgadillo said he does not consider himself religious. But he drew on the Catholic iconography prevalent in Latino art to convey what he considers to be the victimization and sacrifice of an entire people.

Also in the back of his mind was the story of Sister Dorothy Stang, an American nun murdered in Brazil in 2005 at the behest of wealthy landowners angered by her activism on behalf of land reform and the environment. Stang once taught Catholic grade school in Phoenix, and would tutor farm workers' children in English in her spare time. She counted as one of her pupils Delgadillo's wife, Kathy Hansen. The nun's killing was recounted in the 2008 documentary They Killed Sister Dorothy.

"Stang was shot in the middle of the jungle," stated Delgadillo, his dark-brown eyes flashing. "She was a friend of my wife's, and I guess I had this idea of someone being executed just for being who they are. Someone representative of the suffering of the people."

In the painting, no bullet has yet been fired. The scene has been freeze-framed before the culmination of violence, and it could be interpreted as a metaphor for the current state of affairs in Maricopa County regarding the sheriff and Latinos.

"Something is going to happen," said Delgadillo. Of the painting, he adds, "It's at that moment, on the edge, just before that something takes place.

 
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Nikodisias Papalapsuslos
Nikodisias Papalapsuslos

YES , WE CAN...YES , WE CAN...WE WILL WIN IN WAR ON TERROR (30 whities or what are terrorists will never come back alive...thank you lord....aaamen).

What do you mean tragedy! It was just a birthday present for planet apes president !!! That's all ! Feels great to flip hamburgers and hip hop atop of good news...makes you feel vibrant and energized !!!

ARIZONA = UTOYA = GOVERNMENT‘S "AFTERLIFE" CASH & $$ FLASH MOB (there was no shooting in Utoya or Arizona, but tear gas and theater instead on faces of multiculturalism maniacs..your guilt or blame and shame weapon against us and our families in our own countries atop of forceful unemployment during so called "ECONOMIC CRISES" during which third world foreigners are allowed to rape, kill, and still is nothing else but fast way to early retirements for government related criminals/ terrorists...$$$ extra bonuses, and newly issued state identities while calling you a terrorists) !!! http://stateofterror.blogspot.... or http://stateofterror.wordpress...

OBAMA = STALIN = BUSH or USA = SOVIET UNION http://avsecbostjan.blogspot.c... or http://avsecbostjan.wordpress.... Whitie is fighting war on terrorism just to come home and be pronounced as terrorist...turned in Timothy, jobless, homeless ...YESSS, WE CAN...YESSS, WE CAN...GABBY OPENED HER EYES (Obaminator’s psychotic speech in Tucson = failed “Apocalypse Now“)

WAKE-UP !!! WAKE UP PEOPLE BEFORE IT GETS ALL TO LATE ON PLANET APES !!! TEARS WON'T DO YOU ANY GOOD !!! AS BUSH STATED "THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE PAID FOR"(to die ) !!

EVEN IF IRAQ WOULD HAVE BEEN WAR FOR OIL ONLY, VETERANS WOULDN'T NEVER EVER HAVE TO BE HOMELESS PEOPLE THE WAY THEY ARE AND NOR WOULD OUR PEOPLE HAVE TO DIE ALLOVER THE PLACE THE WAY THEY DO TO VERY TODAY(never ending “war on terror” story). BECAUSE EVEN IF WAR WAS FOR THE SAKE OF MONEY, MONEY SHOULD BE USED FOR AMERICAN CITIZENS AND NOT WHAT THE CASE IS OR AGAINST WHITES(to destroy us allover the world) !!! You don't really proof for 911, just put your sht together in your heads...THIS IS PLENTY ENOUGH TO HAVE O(B)SAMA INDICTED FOR CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST WHITE AMERICAN HUMANITY TOGETHER WITH HIS ZIONIST MASTERS) !!!

Don't worry O(s)bama, you have just saved USA what is lots of Dollars in your DEBT DEALS as those best of America or Navy Seals would also grew older and then you already know how it goes...DEAD & ILL = DEBT DEAL !!!

HOW MUCH FURTHER ARE WE WILLING TO GO IN ORDER TO PLEASE VERY SAME PEOPLE WHO DENY US EVEN THE RIGHT TO EXISTENCE(what is to you country without laws or lawless country in respect to your personal rights, but the one that in contrast to your denied basic human rights recognizes you extremely liable when payments are due) !!?

IS IT INDEPENDENCE THAT WE CELEBRATE OR DEPENDENCE (what are your credit card bills or alimony saying about it) !!? HOW IS YOUR DIABETES AND LOST MARRIAGES !!? FORECLOSURES AND JOB SEARCH !!? THAT IS THE QUESTION TO BE OR NOT TO BE !!! IS IT LAND OF THE FREE OR STATE OF TERROR AGAINST OWN POPULATION !!? IT IS TIME TO LET THEM KNOW WHAT COLOR ARE THE STRIPES ON OUR STAR SPANGLED BANNER !!! TIME TO DETERMINE WHOSE INDEPENDENCE/AMERICA, WE CELEBRATE TODAY(who wants to erase us and denies us the right to exist) !!! IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHOM WE ADDRESS WITH "PRESIDENT" (STOP HUMILIATING YOURSELF) !!!

VOTING POLL:

DO WE NEED MORE PROOFS TO INDICT OBAMA AND BUSH ADMINISTRATION FOR CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY !!?

1)NO, THEY ARE CLEARLY GUILTY AS OIL WAR NEVER EVER WAS REAL ISSUE IN GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITES. REAL ISSUE ARE FACTS OR WHAT WE WITNESS TODAY WHEN VETERANS ARE HOMELESS, JOBLESS, KILLED, ETC.

2)NO, AS 911 ALONE AS WELL AS ACTIONS IMPOSED AGAINST WHITES IN USA (as well worldwide) ARE CLEARLY INDICATING ACTS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY

3)YESS AS JUST YESTERDAY(for over 15 years to very yesterday), WE (news/media = vacuum world of lies) WERE TELLING YOU THAT UNEMPLOYMENT WAS AT 10% WHILE TODAY ONE IS AT 50% (HOW COME NO ONE QUESTION JOURNALISM LIKE THIS OR WHAT IS WORLD OF LIES AND DEMENTIA)!

4)I AGREE WITH FIRST TWO ANSWERS ABOVE. IT IS TIME TO PRESS CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST BOTH ADMINISTRATIONS DUE TO ACTS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY FOR THE SAKE(SAFETY) OF US AND OUR CHILDREN(DO NOT TURN THEM IN WHITE REFUGEES ON PLANET APES OR WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE WHEN VISITING ABOVE PAGES) !!!

 
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