Both the Huffington Post's Dawn Teo and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now have produced long pieces in the past week covering Joe Arpaio's recent outrages against those with brown skin, Arpaio's "200 Mexican March" a couple of weeks ago, and the request from four House leaders, including House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, asking that Arpaio be investigated by the Justice Department and his 287(g) agreement reviewed by the Department of Homeland Security.
For those already familiar with the pertinent facts, Goodman's Webcast and Teo's blog post go over ground you'll be familiar with. But especially for those outside of Arizona, each journalistic effort should prove educational. Goodman's segment features interviews with Phoenix civil rights activist Salvador Reza of Puente, and with reporter Ryan Gabrielson of the East Valley Tribune.
Teo also mentions and posts the video of the crying children of Ciria Lopez-Pacheco, captured by Sal Reza, shortly after Lopez-Pacheco was taken into custody by Sheriff Joe's ski-masked deputies. Both Teo and Goodman's efforts are to be welcomed. The more light shone on our benighted patch of desert, the better.
In addition, Teo provides a link to a study just released by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's law school analyzing the impact of 287(g) agreements. The study's conclusions are disturbing, if hardly surprising.
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The paper finds a lack of compliance with federal law by local law enforcement officials, and significant evidence of abuses in the application of these same 67 287(g) agreements across the country.
"The 287(g) program was originally intended to target and remove undocumented immigrants convicted of `violent crimes, human smuggling, gang/organized crime activity, sexual-related offenses, narcotics smuggling and money laundering,' says the report. "However, MOAs are in actuality being used to purge towns and cities of "unwelcome" immigrants and thereby having detrimental effects...Such effects include:
"The marginalization of an already vulnerable population, as 287(g) encourages, or at the very least tolerates, racial profiling and baseless stereotyping, resulting in the harassment of citizens and isolation of the Hispanic community.
"A fear of law enforcement that causes immigrant communities to refrain from reporting crimes, thereby compromising public safety for immigrants and citizens alike.
"Economic devastation for already struggling municipalities, as immigrants are forced to flee communities, causing a loss of profits for local businesses and a decrease in tax revenues.
"Violations of basic American liberties and legal protections that threaten to diminish the civil rights of citizens and ease the way for future encroachments into basic fundamental freedoms."
Teo cuts DHS Director Janet Napolitano waaaay too much slack, in my opinion, making it sound like Napolitano's recent order to find ways of expediting 287(g) agreements nationwide is in fact an overall review questioning the policy. It is not. Napolitano is afraid of Maricopa County's J. Edgar Hoover and what he has on her. Moreover, they have been allies in the past. Napolitano will have to be forced to act. Either that, or we'll have to count on Attorney General Holder and Arizona's new U.S.Attorney (whom most expect to be Dennis Burke), to finally do something about Maricopa County's 800 pound 287(g) gorilla.
Finally, a note for all you libs out there, Todd Landfried's way-lefty show Desert Politics returns to KNUV 1190 AM this Saturday in the 4 PM slot, instead of the 1 PM slot, which we're used to him in. This week's show tackles the topic of photo enforcement, with Republican state House Rep. Sam Crump taking the anti side, and some Dem taking the pro side. Why the Democrats are for these Orwellian contraptions is beyond me, but it sounds like it'll be an interesting show. So don't forget, 4 PM, Saturday.