Sheriff Arpaio's flacks are usually full of it, churning out press release after press release with the sole purpose of puffing up Joe's jowly profile for the public.
But once in a blue billy goat, they actually make a point, as was done with the January 21, 2010 press release, "Sheriff Arpaio Perplexed by ICE Secretary's Statement."
It reads, in part,
Published reports today indicate that [ICE head John] Morton is actually defending Arpaio's 287(g) program in the Sheriff's jails where already over 274,000 people have been investigated by Sheriff's officers. Over 31,000 of those investigated have been identified as being in the country illegally making them ineligible for release into the streets of our community. Morton says that local law enforcement "cannot turn a blind eye to people who are here illegally even if they have no criminal record."
Morton's statements are a bit perplexing to Sheriff Arpaio given that it is Morton's agency that was responsible for partially dismantling Arpaio's 287G program when he took away the authority of over 100 deputies to enforce illegal immigration laws by acting as immigration agents on the street of Maricopa County.
Indeed, Morton did defend ICE's continued jails partnership with the MCSO in recent statements to the Arizona Republic. Though ICE axed Arpaio's 287(g) street authority last year, the agency maintained the 287(g) program in the county jails, where some 60-plus federally-trained MCSO thugs are empowered to inquire after arrestees' nationality and intimidate the undocumented into signing voluntary removal forms, allowing ICE to quickly boot them from the U.S.
ICE is desperate to keep 287(g) in Arpaio's vast incarceration complex. In fact, before Arpaio signed on to 287(g) in 2007, that's all ICE wanted. Arpaio held out until ICE granted him 287(g) field authority; i.e., the power to instigate anti-immigrant sweeps. ICE finally gave in, authorizing the largest force of 287(g) officers in the nation.
In making this deal with El Diablo, ICE gave Arpaio carte blanche to profile based on race and ethnicity, to target Hispanics and deprive them of their constitutional rights. In essence, ICE aided and abetted the MCSO in alleged violations of federal law, violations that are still being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice. Up until the shift in administrations, ICE insisted that the MCSO was in compliance with the first Memorandum of Agreement the two agencies had signed. Such prevarications were obvious then, but are even more plain in hindsight.
As long as ICE and Arpaio work together in the jails, they share responsibility for the civil and human rights violations that occur therein. Arpaio, of course, could give a javelina's snout for the conditions in his medieval holding facilities, where pregnant women are shackled, mothers have their arms broken or their jaws busted, and where inmates often die from neglect or beat-downs.
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