Feathered Bastard

Why E.J. Montini is a blithering idiot, and Phoenix is not a sanctuary city.

Ipso Schmucko: The Repugnant's Muttonhead Montini, menace to local journalism.

See the front page of The Arizona Republic today? The article titled Feds Helping police nab more migrants, with the subhead, Policy shift: ICE now responds to every Valley call ? The piece features a photo of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers with PHX PD at an illegal immigrant drophouse in Ahwatukee. Reporter Daniel Gonzalez points out that calls to ICE from Valley cops, including the PHX PD, have helped nab "more than 6,000 undocumented immigrants" over the last year.

Reckon they didn't read E.J. "Puddin' Head" Montini's latest contribution to column writing yesterday, "There's no 'sanctuary' from immigration politics," wherein the idgit ink-slinger declares that, "Phoenix is a sanctuary city." That's right, all you illegal immigrants out there can breathe a sigh of relief. Muttonhead Montini has declared Phoenix a safe zone. There's no chance you'll be nabbed by the local po-po and turned over to la Migra. In defiance of the facts in his own newspaper, Montini says mayoral candidate Steve Lory was correct when he applied the "sanctuary" label to P-town. Montini states this is a good thing, whereas Lory says it's bad.

Never mind that Phoenix cops work closely with ICE, or that there are ICE officers embedded with PHX's finest: Phoenix is a sanctuary for illegals, a haven, a protected area where they cannot be harassed because of their immigration status.

What a colossal load!

Tell it to Virginia Gutierrez, the 18-year-old honors grad, who when she tried to get her car out of impound from the PHX PD, was popped for allegedly using a fake Mexican I.D. Forgery is a Class 4 Felony. And because of Prop 100, which exists to deny bail to illegal immigrants, when suspects are booked, Phoenix cops now fill out an extra piece of paperwork, where they have to answer two questions: 1) "Is the alleged offense a Class 1, 2, 3, or 4 Felony or a violation of A.R.S. 28-1383 [D.U.I.]?"; and, 2) "Has the person entered or remained in the United States illegally?"

This is completely contrary to the concept of sanctuary, in which police officers are often forbidden by their municipality to inquire after the immigration status of an individual or make it an issue. Moreover, as the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is the jailer for the PHX PD, and since Sheriff Joe has no problem with turning undocumented migrants over to ICE, there is certainly no sanctuary for them once inside Joe's facilities.

In the case of Gutierrez, ICE was notified when she was booked into jail, they convinced her to sign voluntary deportation papers, and she was on a bus to Nogales less than one week after her initial stop. Does that sound like "sanctuary" to you? Montini asserts only violent offenders need worry. Yet, Gutierrez was originally stopped for not having her headlights on while driving. Her car was impounded because she was driving without a license. PHX PD arrested her when she attempted to get the car back with what they say was fake I.D. Whether you agree with what happened to Gutierrez or not, you cannot assert that her violation was a violent one.

Nor can you assert that she benefited from Phoenix being a "sanctuary city."

That's because Phoenix isn't a sanctuary city. No, the cops don't go around rounding up illegals up like a modern-day version of "Operation Wetback." And they don't ask people for their papers, like some 21st Century Gestapo, every time they write a ticket. Still, that's too low a threshold to earn PHX the label "sanctuary," especially when ICE has busted over 6,000 illegals in the last year with the help of Valley law enforcement.

Even before Prop 100 kicked in, Phoenix was not a sanctuary city in the classic sense. In a 2006 report, the Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Library of Congress that does such studies on behalf of Congress, listed over 30 municipalities, states and counties with sanctuary policies regarding illegal immigrants. Phoenix was not on the list.

The report explained that sanctuary cities "have their roots in the 1980s religious sanctuary movement by American churches." This movement sought to protect migrants fleeing civil wars and other oppression in Central American states like El Salvador. The report further explains that,

"Localities, and in some cases individual police departments, in such areas that are considered `sanctuary cities,' have utilized various mechanisms to ensure that unauthorized aliens who may be present in their jurisdiction illegally are not turned in to federal authorities."

The front page of Montini's own paper proves today that this is not the situation with Phoenix, and we can expect the PHX PD's line to get tougher in the near future, not more lenient, if only because of increased pressure from anti-illegal elements in the city and the state.

Personally, I would love it if Phoenix were a sanctuary city. That would be a far more humane situation than our current policies allow. But it's not a sanctuary city, and asserting it is runs contrary to reality. In other words, just because muttonhead Montini and Steve "Loser" Lory claim we're a sanctuary city, that doesn't make it so.

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

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