Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio B-Day Bomb: Judge Wants Monitor in Melendres

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Thing is, if the MCSO fires up the raids, it will indicate to the world that the MCSO is still in the immigration enforcement business, despite Casey's declarations to the contrary.

Try as it might, the MCSO cannot hide behind ID theft and forgery laws. Latinos in Maricopa County are being singled out for discriminatory treatment in the courts, after the MCSO collars them. They are overcharged with class four felonies, held nonbondable in order to secure a guilty plea, and then turned over ICE for deportation.

Lydia Guzman of Respect/Respeto has been at the forefront of the fight in the Melendres case against the MCSO's biased policing. When I informed her of Sheridan's statements, it did not surprise her.

"I have an inclination they are going to [go on] with the same old business, but describe it differently to the public as far as worksite raids go," she said.

And she had a message for the MCSO.

"I'm going to continue to monitor these worksite raids," she promised. "I'm going to document, I'm going to take pictures, and I'm going to collect as much information as possible. This case isn't over."

Indeed, the MCSO may be creating a further record of biased policing for themselves, if they continue the raids, as those raids by the MCSO's Criminal Employment Squad are mentioned in the DOJ's claim against the sheriff's office.

The DOJ's claim against the MCSO specifically mentions the agency's "[u]nconstitutional and unlawful targeting of Latino workers and illegal detention of Latinos, because of their race, color, or national origin, during worksite raids"

With the DOJ's lawsuit active in federal court, and the DOJ interested in participating in discussions leading to a consent decree, it would not be wise for the MCSO to begin raiding businesses again in order to round up brown folk.

But when has the MCSO ever done the prudent thing?

Despite the general and well-deserved sense of victory in the anti-Arpaio camp among both attorneys and activists, it feels like we're just entering a new phase of the same struggle, one that, in this county, never seems to end.

One last observation: If the pro-Arpaio camp engineers some quixotic appeal of Snow's decision, and it loses, as it likely will, not only will it cost more to the taxpayers, it will solidify Snow's ruling as a precedent in the courts of the Ninth Circuit.

And that would be the richest of ironies.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons