The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office released records last week showing what New Times readers already knew:
Most jailed inmates kicked out of the country under the county's 287(g) agreement with the feds were picked up by local police forces for relatively minor crimes. Our September 30, 2008 article, linked above, detailed why this is happening and passed on plenty of stats from various law enforcement agencies as factual evidence.
One group of stats we didn't get, though: The kind of stats just released by the county, which the Arizona Republic used as fodder today for a front-page article.
Not that we didn't ask for them -- as part of the research for "Police State," we asked Sheriff's Joe Arpaio's office for exactly those inmates stats, (though from earlier, random dates).
Paul Chagolla, (pictured above), now a deputy chief with the office, refused to release the data, telling New Times that satisfying the request would violate federal law. Did something change, or was Chagolla lying?
Chagolla, who left the sheriff's public relations office on a bad note, is now the
records division chief. [P.M. Correction to this A.M. blog post: That's criminal records, not public records, which dulls our point here but does not totally blunt it]. Oy. With him in charge, we don't have to wonder why Arpaio's office has failed to release a completed report we requested last August, or why he reportedly gave false information last week to the state Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on fugitive warrants.
As to the stats themselves:
We didn't notice any "passenger failed to show ID" arrests, which could be considered the most minor of crimes -- especially when those arrests are based on bogus underlying violations. There were a few "driver failed to show ID" arrests. And there was one arrest -- and subsequent voluntary deportation, no doubt -- for fishing without a license.
The alleged crimes committed (sample below) by the illegal immigrants booked into jail, however, are not mostly victimless. Advocates for undocumented workers who commit crimes have a tall hurdle to clear in explaining why society would benefit more from the old "catch-and-release" method.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.