The Bird wonders why Sheriff Joe Arpaio put a U.S. citizen behind bars for simply appearing Mexican

U.S. citizen Israel Correa, with detail from his MCSO booking report, which indicates an “MCSO ICE Hold.”
Stephen Lemons


What ICE doesn't know won't hurt it.

That's the Sheriff's Office policy regarding immigration "holds" placed on those the MCSO suspects of being illegal aliens, a category covering everyone in town darker than the average eggshell.

Indeed, as part of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's recent posse-enhanced dragnet of central PHX, one The Bird dive-bombed during its press-conference kickoff ("Joe Show Blows," January 24), the MCSO placed an "MCSO ICE Hold" against U.S. citizen Israel Correa while he was in custody on the bogus charge of not producing a valid driver's license.

Why bogus? According to the incident report, obtained from MCSO flack Paul Chagolla, Correa was stopped about 10 p.m. January 18 because he was driving without his headlights on. The MCSO actually arrested Correa for failure to show ID, even though the report written by deputy C.A. Rangel notes Correa eventually produced a valid Arizona driver's license, just not quickly enough to satisfy Rangel.

Correa wasn't ticketed for driving sans headlights. Instead, he was ticketed for not showing ID, which he, in fact, produced. For not having insurance, which he has. And for not having his registration in the vehicle, though MCSO ran the car's plate, and found the registration was legit.

MCSO confiscated Correa's valid state driver's license, and on Rangel's report is Correa's valid Social Security number. So, why did deputies place an immigration hold on him?

Uh, maybe because Correa's skin is brown and he speaks English with an accent? Last time this lapwing checked, neither suffices to arrest someone on a trumped-up charge and hold them as a suspected illegal alien.

When Channel 12 first reported that Correa, a former candidate for Maryvale JP, was squawking that a hold had been placed on him, The Bird was skeptical. So the foul fowl called up Vinnie Picard, spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Picard vowed there'd been no hold. Otherwise, he'd have known about it, he assured this avian.

The authority to place such a hold comes from ICE itself. Currently, Arpaio has 160 deputies cross-trained as ICE agents under a 287G program, in which local law enforcement receive ICE training and act under ICE's purview.

After chirping with Picard, The Bird caught up with Correa, who produced a printout of the MCSO's Booking Detail Report for him. Under a section called "holds," the words "MCSO ICE Hold" are plainly listed.

Correa repeatedly told the MCSO he was an American citizen, born in Maricopa County, no less. Correa claimed the MCSO didn't believe him because of his accent. He related the story of a female MCSO officer who was processing him into Fourth Avenue Jail.

"The lady was screaming at me," alleged Correa. "I told her, 'Ma'am, you don't need to be in my face, plus your breath stinks!' She said, 'You're not from here. This is a fake driver's license.' I said, 'It's not fake. I want to speak to an attorney, I know my rights.' I told her, 'I am a paralegal. I know the law too.'"

Correa was manhandled into one cell, then another. In the morning, he was informed he would not be released.

"They told me I had an ICE hold," said Correa. "I said, 'But I told you I was a U.S. citizen!' They said, "Yeah, yeah, come on.' Then they put me with all the immigrants. I was in there for like six more hours. I continued calling my family, and they kept calling the jail."

Yet Picard insists Correa was never under suspicion by the feds of being being illegal. MCSO informed Picard this so-called hold was really just an internal "flag" indicating Correa needed to be interviewed by a 287G deputy.

Why was he flagged, when MCSO had Correa's valid SS number and driver's license? MCSO told Picard it was because Correa wouldn't answer questions upon his booking.

After yakking with Correa at length, this cynical snipe doubts Correa's capable of being quiet for more than a few minutes, even though, as an American citizen, he had the right to remain silent.

Picard conceded that someone might be bewildered by an "MCSO ICE Hold" that's not really an ICE hold.

"No wonder he thought he was being held and examined by ICE," Picard observed. "Every indication that he had, from the paperwork, and what he was or was not told, indicated that. That's why I was confused, because we had no record of that."

The MCSO retained Correa's property after he was released, including a handgun that the arresting deputy said "had no criminal record." Correa insists he had a wallet with $2,000 in cash. Rangel's report states no wallet or money was found.

Correa told The Bird that since being let go, MCSO vehicles have dogged his residence, driving and parking nearby. He's also spotted a plainclothes cop taking snaps of his home.


Correa's attorney, Stephen Montoya, fears retribution from the MCSO against his client. Knowing Arpaio and the hunger for revenge that drives him and his lackeys, this falcon figures that fear's legitimate (see "Enemies List," Sarah Fenske, November 29, the opener of our "Target Practice" series on the unsavory antics of Joe and his Mini-Me, County Attorney Candy Thomas).

Did ICE train Arpaio's goons so they could hold American citizens, without informing ICE that they're doing so? Don't think so. Even those opposed to illegal immigration should be incensed by this latest, flagrant, and likely criminal abuse of power by the MCSO.

ICE should immediately move to suspend the 287G status of Arpaio's deputies. Under Nickel Bag Joe's regime, the MCSO cannot be trusted to perform its local duties professionally, much less execute federal laws without malice or bias.


Whatever Israel Correa's inevitable civil rights claim costs the county, we'll have to add it to the $43.4 million and counting in Maricopa County lawsuit payouts because of Sheriff Joe's medieval jail system.

That figure's up $2 million from the $41.4 million cited in our cover story last month, "Inhumanity Has a Price" (John Dickerson, December 20, another segment of "Target Practice"). The $2 mil was the county's settlement on a complaint brought by tort titan Mike Manning on behalf of the family of Brian Crenshaw, a 40-year-old, legally blind, mentally disabled man who died as a result of a severe beating sustained in MCSO custody.

Crenshaw was in jail for shoplifting. The MCSO knew he was mentally handicapped, his eyesight impaired. A doc at Correctional Health Services wrote an order stating Crenshaw was not to be housed in Tent City. He was housed there anyway.

Standing in a chow line one day, Crenshaw was approached by MCSO Officer Jimmy Martinez, who ordered Crenshaw to show his inmate ID card. Crenshaw didn't respond. A scuffle ensued. Crenshaw was placed in handcuffs, and led to a holding cell. Martinez later admitted in a deposition that Crenshaw was shoved into a metal table and wire mesh. Other officers joined in the assault, according to the complaint.

Crenshaw was held in solitary confinement for six days. He complained of being beaten by detention officers, of having severe wounds. When he was eventually moved to Maricopa County Medical Center, emergency room doctors discovered his neck and toes were broken. Crenshaw slipped into a coma from which he never awoke and died April 15, 2003. An independent autopsy determined the cause of death to be peritonitis and blood poisoning due to a perforated duodenum.

How did Crenshaw incur these injuries? Arpaio's hatchet man-esquire Jack MacIntyre says Crenshaw fell off his bunk.

"Even if you could come up with the notion that he broke his neck falling off a bunk, how do you fracture your toes, and scrape them?" asked Manning in response to MacIntyre's claim. "You don't scrape your toes by falling off a bunk. That's absurd."

Following the settlement, MacIntyre, one of Arpaio's several spokesmen, mouthed off to the Arizona Republic: "Government entities are always going to be targets, especially for these bogus civil-rights-type claims."

Pretty cocky crap from a lawyer-relegated-to-flack whose department had just lost to the tune of $2 freakin' mil. But neither Joe nor MacIntyre has to front the dough. We bill-bearers do, along with paying their salaries. The $2 mil falls under the county's $5 mil deductible for its liability insurance. Why so high? Because the sheriff's shoddily run gulags draw lawsuits like rats to rotten oranges.

Can someone tell MacIntyre to shut his pettifogging pie-hole? "Bogus" complaint?! MacIntyre's either a moron or he knows that he'd better keep his lips securely around Arpaio's withered pecker. Or else!


The Taloned One loves how State Representative Russell Pearce is all excuses when he forwards neo-Nazi National Alliance e-mails to supporters, or is spotted arm-in-arm with swastika-worshippers like J.T. Ready. It's either, "I didn't read the e-mail," or, "I didn't know he was a white supremacist." But the proof, as they say, is in the puddinhead.

In person, Pearce strikes you as having the IQ of a horse's hoof. But he's extremely effective at instituting his one-note-Johnny anti-brown plan for Sand Land. Last year, it was employer sanctions. This year, AZ's doofus Dr. Evil is bolder, more twisted.

Pearce has already made known his intent to put a referendum on the November ballot that would prohibit hospitals from issuing birth certificates to children born of illegal parents. Never mind that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution clearly states: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."


Constitution, shmonstitution! Pearce the prejudiced pinhead has spoken!

Other Pearce-sponsored legislation in this session reveals a methodical goose-step toward the eradication of an entire class of individuals from AZ's population. The most dastardly is House Bill 2631, which amends marriage law to require that prospective brides and grooms provide both Social Security numbers and proof of citizenship before a marriage license is issued.

So, only Americans can wed Americans, in Russell-ville. (Inbreeding is optional.) What if your girlfriend's here on a student visa? Tough luck. How 'bout if your boyfriend has a green card? Better look for a citizen, sweetie. Preferably a white one.

The Bird would have to be tone deaf to history not to note a faint echo of Nazi Germany's Nuremberg laws. These instituted a blood test for citizenship, something ol' Russ would probably be down with. Like Pearce's proposals, the Nuremberg laws also dealt with nuptials, forbidding marriages "between Jews and citizens of German blood."

Agreed, we're dealing with different historical contexts. Compared to the Nuremburg laws or Jim Crow in the American South or apartheid in South Africa or ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, Pearce's cruelty pales.

But the Mesa moonhowler keeps trying to up his cruelty quotient. Take, for instance, HB 2625, which sanctions landlords renting to illegals. A landlord who doesn't check a renter's immigration status could receive a civil penalty of up to $250 for each day of violation. Effectively, if you rent to someone who is undocumented, the state could bankrupt you.

There's also House Concurrent Resolution 2039, a ballot measure forcing cops to check arrestees for immigration status. If some city doesn't want their police acting like the local Gestapo and asking for papers like in some Hogan's Heroes rerun, all state money to that municipality's police force will be axed.

HCR 2039 also makes illegals illegal. There's already a federal law, Title 8, section 1325, which makes it unlawful for an alien to enter the country illegally. Basically, it's a minor offense, with a civil penalty of "at least $50 and not more than $250 for each such entry."

Under Pearce's proposal, a local law enforcement agency can either turn over the illegal to the feds, or refer him or her for prosecution. First offense would be a class-1 misdemeanor. Second offense, a class-4 felony. There are prison terms, fines and assessments of court costs against those convicted. How they're going to squeeze the last two out of some poor Mexican who crossed the desert to work for birdseed is beyond this bald eagle.

Additionally, there's HB 2045, which requires "handymen" to be registered and in the country legally, even if the total cost of the work they're doing fails to exceed $1,000. That's an obvious swipe at day laborers, whose only crime is wanting to bust their asses for lazy ofays willing to pay. (Pearce is only a co-sponsor on this one, but it fits with the master plan.)

Let's face it, in Arizona, the word "illegal" as applied to an individual is quickly becoming the de facto equivalent of "subhuman." But for this tweeter, the only "subhumans" involved here are those helping fellow troglodyte Pearce get his trash-legislation passed.

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >