Sheriff Joe's PR flacks are working overtime. They just sent out a press advisory on a new countywide anti-immigration dragnet beginning today. What they don't tell you in the statement is that Arpaio and Co. have set up the sweep for an out-of-town camera crew from a major broadcast network, according to my sources.
My sources alerted me this weekend that the sweep would be happening today, and that it was being done at the behest of a national news show. I've not yet been able to confirm the news show involved. (UPDATE 11/16/09 2:10PM: I now have two sources telling me that the news show involved is ABC national. They have yet to return my call for a comment.)
If true -- and the fact that the source was solid on today's sweep suggests that it is -- it would come as no surprise. Arpaio's sweeps are generally publicity stunts, dog-and-pony shows meant to garner Arpaio publicity. Though disruptive and terrifying to members of the Latino community, they rarely result in the arrest of very many illegal immigrants, certainly not by contrast to a drop house raid done by the Phoenix PD.
With this sweep, Arpaio continues to flout both the law and the Obama administration's half-measure of cutting his 287(g) street authority (while leaving his 287(g) in the jails intact). Why the Obama administration continues to partner with this maniac is both infuriating and disturbing. (Arpaio mentioned on his Twitter account today that he just got finished meeting with the Vice President of the U.S. Joe Biden. Sheesh, what's next for Biden, photo ops with Burmese dictators?) UPDATE: Biden had no formal meeting. Please see follow-up.
Hispanics' civil rights will be violated during this sweep, as they have been in all of Arpaio's sweeps and raids. Anyone who is brown will be suspect of being here sans documents by sheriff's deputies.
DHS honcho Janet Napolitano recently defended Arpaio in a speech Friday before the Center for American Progress, the Obama admin's pet think tank. Napolitano and the Obama-ites should be the focus of anger for Latinos now, not Joe.
Once I discover the organization this film crew is with, I will excoriate them mercilessly. They are de facto accessories to Arpaio's running roughshod over the Constitution and over Hispanics. They should hang their heads in shame, assuming they're capable of shame.
UPDATE: Biden was in town today, and had a meeting with state Dems. I've contacted the White House seeking comment on a visit with Arpaio.
Media Advisory for Monday, November 16, 2009
County Wide Crime Suppression Operation Announced
Despite the fact that the Obama administration recently took away Sheriff Joe Arpaio's authority to enforce the law enforcement portion of the 287g program, the Sheriff announces today that a two day long county-wide crime suppression/illegal immigration operation will begin tonight at 5PM.
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About 200 volunteer posse, reserves and deputies will participate. Arpaio says this operation will also use posse helicopters to visually assist ground crews in locating possible load vehicles.
This operation, Arpaio says, will differ from previous operations as it will have a substantial focus on the crime of human smuggling.
Since March 2006, Sheriff's deputies have successfully stopped hundreds of load vehicles culminating in the arrests of 1,710 smugglers and co-conspirators, under the felony human smuggling laws. The entire illegal immigration enforcement by Sheriff's deputies has netted a total of 3,532 arrests on state and federal charges since March 2006.
Arpaio will hold a briefing at 5PM in front of the Sheriff's Training Building at the northeast corner of Lower Buckeye Road and 35th Avenue on Monday, November 16, 2009. In it, he plans to detail new information gleaned from his anti illegal immigration operations about the changes now underway by smugglers to thwart efforts by local law enforcement to locate drop houses. END