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, September 9, 2009

Tricks of the Trade for the MCSO

 Isn't that something - the state can throw you in jail for not having enough money to pay a traffic ticket - and that's if you're lucky and you're a citizen...I guess they have to bust them on traffic offenses because the truth is, they aren't really a bunch of criminals - what else can they bust them on? All their rhetoric about dangerous criminal aliens among us falls apart as soon as the facts and figures of who's getting arrested for what comes out.

Deputies should be walking out en masse when ordered to do "crime suppression sweeps". Prosecutors, too, when those people are brought before them.


MCSO using outstanding traffic, license fines to arrest immigrants

Phoenix Business Journal - by Mike Sunnucks

Tuesday, September 8, 2009, 2:50pm MST   
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio may have a way to bypass possible changes in federal immigration law by arresting illegal immigrants on outstanding charges such as unpaid traffic tickets and fines for not having drivers’ licenses, according to immigration attorneys and Hispanic activists who monitor the agency’s activities.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Web site lists 30 individuals arrested over the past three days for not paying fines, another 24 had charges that included missing court dates. The information, however, did not specify whether the individuals were undocumented.

The failure to pay fine charge means the MCSO and other police agencies can arrest illegal immigrants without getting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement approval at the time of the arrest. Immigration charges can be added after defendants are booked, said sources, some of whom asked not to be identified.

“If there is an outstanding warrant for failure to pay fines, then MCSO can pick up the person on the warrant itself, regardless of their immigration status and not have to get into that with the person or call ICE — because it will be addressed when the person gets booked in jail,” said Margarita Silva, a Phoenix attorney with the law office of Navidad, Leal & Silva.

“I think this is because, simply paying a traffic ticket — even in municipal court or a justice court, as opposed to mail — does not usually expose one to immigration questioning, a requirement to produce ID or contact with law enforcement. The courts in general allow people to come in and pay or make payment arrangements without any issues at all,” Silva said.

The MCSO has a 287(g) agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and ICE that allows local police to arrest illegal immigrants. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has proposed amending such pacts to shift the focus from the business raids and crime sweeps popular with Arpaio to criminal syndicates and violent crimes.

Arpaio told the Phoenix Business Journal last week he is optimistic that something can be worked out on the 287(g) agreements and stressed he can still enforce immigration laws via the state’s employer sanctions law the Legal Arizona Workers Act.


Here, by the way, is another YouTube Video of MCSO Deputies harassing the people documenting their racial profiling last weekend - this one was at Gran Mercado.

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