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

Friday, August 28, 2009

Up-coming MCSO racial profiling plans

Note that Arpaio is sending his squadron out to terrorize latino drivers and their children, again...stay tuned:

by Daniel González - Aug. 28, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
President Barack Obama is facing growing pressure from some civil-rights, labor, religious and pro-immigrant groups to end a program that lets local authorities enforce the country's immigration laws.
Hundreds of the groups on Wednesday issued a call to terminate the program, saying it can lead to racial profiling and isn't an effective anti-immigration tool.
To address some of those ongoing concerns, the Obama administration narrowed the program's focus last month to target dangerous criminals and not illegal immigrants who haven't committed other crimes. But it also expanded the program to more law-enforcement agencies
"ICE takes the concerns raised about the program by the signatories to this letter very seriously," said Matt Chandler, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the program known as 287(g) through Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"The new, standardized 287(g) agreements that were announced in July strengthen ICE's oversight of the program and make our communities safer by identifying and removing criminal aliens who pose a public-safety threat."
The most controversial participant is Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who said Thursday that he is close to signing a new contract that will let his deputies and jail officials continue arresting and identifying illegal immigrants.
"There are a couple of points that have to be resolved," Arpaio said, "and I am sure that can be done. . . . As soon as I get the revised (agreement), I'll just sign it."
Arpaio had threatened to bow out of the program after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano revamped it amid allegations that Arpaio was using the program to go after low-level illegal immigrants instead of dangerous criminals. Congressional auditors also had recently found that the program lacked adequate supervision. Arpaio is also facing a Justice Department investigation into allegations of civil-rights violations tied to his participation in the program.
Civil-rights and Hispanic groups want the administration to do more. More than 500 groups mailed Obama a letter on Wednesday, demanding that the program be killed. The groups, including the National Immigration Law Center, American Civil Liberties Union, the Anti-Defamation League, Pax Christi, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Council of La Raza, say the program does nothing to solve illegal immigration and has led to civil-rights abuses by local police.
The groups are angry that the Obama administration has expanded the program by signing agreements with 11 law-enforcement agencies; 66 agencies signed agreements under the George W. Bush administration.
"Local police should not be in the business of enforcing immigration laws because it terrorizes immigrant communities and causes racial profiling," said Salvador Reza, an immigrant advocate who runs the Macehualli Work Center in Phoenix. The center is part of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, one of the groups calling for an end to the program.
Chris Newman, the organization's legal director, singled out the Sheriff's Office as an example of how the program has done more harm than good.
"We have seen the ravaging effects on communities the 287(g) program has had in Maricopa County," Newman said. "It has created tremendous distrust of law enforcement and police, unnecessarily separated families and resulted in massive civil-rights violations."
Arpaio said Thursday that he is planning another crime-suppression operation. He invited groups who signed the letter to come see the operation to prove deputies aren't violating civil rights.
Nationally, the program has resulted in the identification of more than 100,000 illegal immigrants, including nearly 30,000 by Maricopa County personnel. The program gives local police and jail officials the authority to question people they arrest, or who have been booked into jails, about their immigration status.
Jim Pendergraph, a former Mecklenburg County sheriff in North Carolina, said jail officials there identified more than 4,000 illegal immigrants who were booked.
"If it's used right, it is a very beneficial tool, and if there is a problem with it, then fix that and don't throw the baby out with the bathwater," said Pendergraph, who also ran the ICE office that coordinated the program with local and state agencies.
The program has been so popular that Homeland Security had to reject dozens of applications due to funding shortfalls, said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee and co-author of the law that created the program. "Local law-enforcement agencies deserve our thanks for helping to remove illegal immigrants from our communities before they threaten American lives and property," he said.

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