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

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Immigration Enforcement or Crime Fighting?

Nice summary by Matt Kelley of the Innocence Project. From


Sidestepping Immigration to Focus on Solving Crimes

Published October 28, 2009 @ 06:28AM PT

When federal and local officials work on identifying, detaining and deporting undocumented immigrants, there's something else they're not doing: investigating, solving and preventing crime.

A great op-ed yesterday in the Los Angeles Times by LAPD Chief William Bratton makes a forceful and eloquent case for police departments to keep their priorities straight.

Police officers should concentrate their energy on solving crime, and undocumented immigrants shouldn't be afraid to come into contact with police if they witness a crime, or even more importantly, if they are the victims of a crime.

Unfortunately, police departments across the country are moving in the opposite direction. More than 65 law enforcement agencies across the county have entered into a partnership with the federal government, called 287(g). This program gives police officers the power to act as agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a monumentally bad idea. Bratton argues, rightly, that this program takes critical emphasis away from crime investigation and prevention.

Bratton writes that our country needs immigration reform to bring our neighbors out of the shadows, so they can get the protection they deserve from police. He cites a report this year from the Police Foundation that "confirms that when local police enforce immigration laws, it undermines their core public safety mission, diverts scarce resources, increases their exposure to liability and litigation, and exacerbates fear in communities that are already distrustful of police."

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, is at the other end of this spectrum. While he has been on his wackball rampage of immigration raids and prisoner abuse, his department has left thousands of cases open, letting perpetrators of violent crime walk free while it arrests and imprisons mothers and children. Do you think an immigrant who witnesses a crime will walk up to Joe's office to report it?

But Joe's not the audience for Bratton's op-ed. He's too far gone. It's the thousands of police chiefs across the country who should be listening. There's temptation to jump on board with the Obama administration and fight the immigration battle on home turf. Our local law enforcement agencies should resist the draw of this misguided federal program and focus instead on crime at home.

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