Round-ups are a wasted effort: Your story demonstrates how a bunch of racist rednecks are driving the agenda on illegal immigration ("Police State," Ray Stern, October 2). These bigots have yelled so loud and so long that they have forced every law enforcement agency in Maricopa County (and, I'm sure, in many border areas) to waste money on a problem that cannot be solved.
And make no mistake about it, lots of real crime is going unnoticed by these cops because they have time for little more than rounding up Mexicans with broken windshields, the majority of whom are working their asses off at jobs that no Americans — especially the trash who're making all the noise — would lower themselves to do.
I thought the Phoenix Police Department commander [Glenn Gardner] in your story said it best. He called it stupid to think that all the new enforcement will eventually make illegal immigrants go somewhere else, noting that people who walk across the Sonoran Desert to get here aren't going to be scared away by even legions of La Migra.
C.T. White, Phoenix
We're only crying foul: "Police State" is another in a long line of crybaby stories about illegal aliens that New Times has done. The bottom line is — whether these Mexicans, whom all local authorities are picking up, are getting popped on petty stuff or not — they are still criminals and must be deported.
I (and I'm not alone, by any means) am glad that not just the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is involved in immigration enforcement nowadays. I'm glad Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, and even Mesa (where liberal George Gascón rules as police chief) have been forced by public opinion to get into the act. The numbers are up? Good!
Aside from the terrible economy under the George W. Bush administration, this is the biggest problem we face. And I believe these illegals are making the economy worse. So stop sniveling, New Times, and figure things out.
Tom Murray, Mesa
In this economy? What a waste: What a waste of police resources in a time of economic trouble! How much immigration enforcement can we afford in this terrible economy?
Governments are cutting back everywhere, but guys like Sheriff Joe Arpaio just keep on doing what they're doing for the sake of publicity. How much is this costing, not that the press would ever wring that out of sneaky ol' Joe? And the county Board of Supervisors is too cowed by him to make him tell you.
Crime is going up, and now other police agencies have followed Arpaio's suit. Disgusting! And it will really be disgusting when these cities try to stick taxpayers with the bill for this.
You may be hurting financially because of the economy, but that won't stop these governments from trying to make you pay for this strictly political operation to force Mexicans back and forth across the border.
Richard Olivas, Phoenix
ICE sits around waiting for special deliveries: This is a great situation for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. There's all this political pressure on the feds to fix the immigration problem, and now local police departments are wiping their butts for them.
Now all ICE has to do is sit back and wait for local cops to deliver them all the tree-trimmers, maids, and fast-food workers that they can process.
Makes ICE look like it's doing its job — when it's not. I remember your story a few years ago on ICE ("Meltdown," November 16, 2006). The point was that ICE was an incompetent agency that, despite growing public pressure, was doing next to nothing. All ICE agents did was complain about being ICE agents.
Now they've got even more time to complain, as they wait for their special deliveries.
Jim Foley, Tucson
Incompetent ICE: Wow, that's pretty sad, isn't it? Seems [ICE agents] can't do their own job, so others have to do it for them!
John Thomas, Phoenix
It's not perfect, but it's better than open borders: Author Ray Stern cannot bring himself to acknowledge that the new 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.
You may need a new book: 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.
NOT AN AUTHORITY
Good place for a boob: It's just perfect that Doug Lingner, who has zilch experience in public housing, gets the job as the head of Maricopa County's public-housing program ("Home Boy," Sarah Fenske, September 25).
So we get another inept public official in this county. Don't we have enough as it is, with Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas?
Why is it nearly always the case that the politically connected are favored over truly experienced professionals? Probably because nobody really cares about the people who live in public housing in the first place. Those doing the appointing feel that the head of the Housing Authority's a good place to put an inexperienced boob — because taxpayers won't really be watching and don't care.
Otherwise, how could a consummate professional like the guy you mention [William "Bill" Wilkins] be passed over in favor of a political hack like Lingner, a do-nothing former Phoenix city councilman? Lingner had no experience in public housing while his rival spent eight years running the East St. Louis Housing Authority — twice the size of Maricopa County's.
Good job of exposing this cronyism of the worst sort.
Sara Brown, Phoenix
A consolidated effort to trash Lingner: Doug Lingner is widely recognized as one of the strongest advocates for affordable housing and homeless services in Arizona. The Laveen people wanted to recall him for supporting affordable housing in their area.
By the way, how do you think 50 residents of Laveen found out about this position being open, much less were motivated enough to e-mail the Housing Authority, unless someone mounted an organized effort?
Fifty people don't e-mail about shootings in their neighborhood, much less a hiring process for the director of county housing. The same insiders that put [Sarah Fenske] up to this story organized that e-mail effort. That's pretty obvious.
Craig Echeveste, Phoenix