I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Southern Poverty Law Center on Arpaio

Arpaio Urged to Part With Anti-Immigrant Groups

From KTAR 08/12/09

by Jim Cross, Sandra Haros

PHOENIX - The Southern Poverty Law Center is calling on Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to distance himself from anti-illegal immigration groups, saying that such groups may view his stand on immigration as vindication of their beliefs.

Dr. Heidi Beirich of the center came to the Valley at the invitation of Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, who has been a lightning rod in the immigration debate, clashing with Arpaio.

"It's not about immigration, it's about hate," Gordon said Wednesday.

Beirich singled out three anti-illegal immigration groups on her radar screen: the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, American Border Patrol and United for a Sovereign America. All operate within Arizona's borders.

Beirich said it is dangerous to have mainstream people, such as the sheriff, associating with the Nativist groups.

"These are not people who anybody who is in public life should be spending time with," Beirich said. "These are parts of our horrible past, especially the racism, that we've been trying to get over."

Arpaio takes offense to anyone implying he's a racist, saying "I have no use for racist groups. I do not condone racist groups."

He added, "I think if people knew my family, they would know that's a viscious allegation made by these open-border people trying to do everything they can to insult and discourage me from enforcing a law."

Arpaio tells News/Talk 92.3 KTAR he is not a racist. "Come on, am I a racist? I'm not a racist," he said. "You know and everybody knows it. I'm just doing my job, enforcing all the laws, including illegal immigration."

Beirich said Arpaio's association with such groups endorses what they do and empowers them, calling that "a scary thing."

"In terms of raiding immigrant communities and what not, they probably figure that he's endorsing their views," she said.

"It's not just hanging out with haters, it's also marching immigrants down the street in fatigues and this scene that, like, comes out of imperial Rome," she said, adding, "I don't know why it is that he keeps getting re-elected, I just don't know."

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