Skip to main content

Anybody following immigration issues has probably heard of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, better known as Sheriff Joe. Working in Maricopa County, Arizona,  the Sheriff has rounded up thousands of undocumented immigrants (he's is keeping a tab on his website) for minor offenses like turn-signal violations or broken taillights.  Meanwhile, Sheriff Joe ignores tens of thousands of criminal warrants so he can go after immigrant day laborers with his 3,000 person posse.  Mayors (including the mayor of Phoenix) and public officials have complained, but the Sheriff says he has no intention of listening to, say, federal laws on the matter.  As Joe himself says,  

"Do you think I’m going to report to the federal government?" he said. "I don’t report to them. If they don’t like the contract, they can close it up. That’s all."

"By the way," he said, "we do have a 3,000-person posse — and about 500 have guns. They have their own airplanes, jeeps, motorcycles, everything. They can only operate under the sheriff. I swear ’em in. I can put up 30 airplanes tomorrow if I wanted."

But unfortunately for several cities across the nation, Sheriff Joe has inspired some followers.  On Tuesday the Times reported that some cities are taking immigration matters into their own hands, rounding up undocumented immigrants for crimes as small as fishing without a license in Georgia.  Even states have jumped into the fray, with a law in Oklahoma making "sheltering or transporting illegal immigrants" a felony (does anyone else think this has a pre-Civil War ring?) and a new law in Mississippi declaring it a felony for an undocumented immigrant to have a job.

Following Sheriff Joe's lead, local officials have really gotten into the round-'em-up game.  Sheriff Wendell Hall of Santa Rosa County displays a framed cartoon that shows Daniel Boone admiring Hall's arrest of 27 undocumented workers.  Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen is also using Sheriff Joe-like tactics, and doesn't even bother using the word "immigrant" on his website:  "Do you know of any illegal alien activity or employers that hire illegal aliens?" he asks.

But the most interesting part of the article is not the macho, cowboys-and-Indians type attitudes of these crazy sheriffs -- unfortunately, mistreatment of immigrants is nothing new -- but rather the effect that these round-ups have had on the towns over which these officials preside.  Hispanics -- even U.S. citizens -- live in fear of racial profiling and immigration raids, and hundreds -- including legal citizens -- have disappeared from towns with tough crackdown policies.  Others have remained, but their daily routines are tinged with fear:

Many Hispanics said they avoided being seen or heard speaking Spanish in Wal-Mart, even if they live here legally. Others detailed their habit of meticulously checking their cars’ headlights, blinkers and registration to avoid being pulled over.

Local employers have found themselves short-staffed as well.  Geronimo Barragan, the owner of a Mexican restaurant called La Hacienda, was forced to close his restaurant for two and a half months because he was unable to find workers (the Times has an excellent video).

Unable to find people in the area who can cook Mexican food, Mr. Barragan, 41, has been scouring the nation, recruiting in Houston, Chicago and Baton Rouge. He has yet to find all the workers he needs, relying on a handful of new hires with work visas that expire in November. He said he wished that Congress could find a way to bring more foreign workers to America legally.

Clearly, the current immigration system is broken.  Technically, officials like Sheriff Hall aren't allowed to enforce immigration laws since they aren't 287(g) certified, so they have to go about it in a roundabout way, by arresting people who are using others' social security numbers, many of whom are initially identified through racial profiling.  

A good solution is a policy that is consistent throughout the nation and takes into account not only humane treatment of immigrants, but acknowledges the significant contribution that these immigrants make to their communities as well.  The government needs to reign in these renegade sheriffs, to protect not only immigrants but the cities where they work and live.

Originally posted to coryDMI on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 08:33 AM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  You Need To Further Clarify The Position (0+ / 0-)

    A good solution is a policy that is consistent throughout the nation and takes into account not only humane treatment of immigrants, but acknowledges the significant contribution that these immigrants make to their communities as well.

    Of the Drum Major Institute e.g. DMI does not believe in deportation as a means of civil relief, nor does the Drum Major Institute believe in worksite and interior enforcement of immigration law.

    In other words, the Drum Major Institute believes in open borders.

    <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

    by superscalar on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 08:59:38 AM PDT

  •  By The By (0+ / 0-)

    a new law in Mississippi declaring it a felony for an undocumented immigrant to have a job

    It has been a felony to fraudulently sign an I9 form for more than twenty years now.

    <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

    by superscalar on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 09:01:59 AM PDT

  •  Joe needs a taste of his own medicine (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theboz

    I remember back about 10, 12 yrs ago when Joe loaded a 50 cal. machine gun on his helicopter during the Laughlin Charity Bike Run.  That run is for charity and is put together by a group of Dentists and Doctors, but Bikers scare Poor Joe. Rumors at the time said Joe warned certain groups not to found alone in the desert because they might end up as target practice. I guess Charity doesn't start at Joes home State.

    President Theodore Roosevelt,"No man can take part in the torture of a human being without having his own moral nature permanently lowered."

    by SmileySam on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 09:03:26 AM PDT

  •  Sheriff Joe (0+ / 0-)

    but the Sheriff says he has no intention of listening to, say, federal laws on the matter.

    Regardless if you agree with what he is doing or not; Sheriff Joe has a understanding with the federal authorities.

    To state that he has "gone rouge" or something is not accurate.

  •  Arapio... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theboz

    ...is not a law enforcement officer. He's a professional grandstander.

  •  Expensive footsteps (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theboz, Tinfoil Hat, MadMs, mariachi mama

    Even though it's not entirely about immigrants, see "Money Shot"...

    Arpaio has cost Maricopa County a staggering $41.4 million in legal fees, insurance premiums, and payouts to jail-abuse victims. Arpaio's track record is so bad that the county has been forced to switch to an insurance policy with a $5 million deductible. Insurance won't cover a cent of any suit that settles for less than that.

    ...

    [Norberg] was in Arpaio's jail just 15 hours before he was handcuffed by guards, kicked, stomped on, and then strapped into a restraint chair. There, guards held a towel over his head, literally suffocating him. Medical records later revealed that he had been shot with a stun gun at least 14 times and beaten so badly that his larynx cracked.

    Is this sheriff a man to be followed...?

  •  Hatred causes civilizations to fail (0+ / 0-)

    If we let the rest of our country go the way places like Phoenix have, we will see failures on the same level Phoenix has been as well as other cities that have enacted racist and xenophobic laws against immigrants.  Phoenix is having major economic problems right now, which became severe right about the time this asshole sheriff started his white supremacist crusade against latinos.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site