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

Rein Pearce In.

Yuma Sun Editorial

State doesn't need expanded immigration role

An Arizona lawmaker is on the rampage again against illegal immigration, promising to introduce legislation to push enforcement down to the local level rather than keeping it at the federal level where it belongs.

Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, who has been the main supporter of multiple pieces of recent legislation to crack down on illegal immigrants in Arizona, is critical of federal efforts to address the problem. He is particularly troubled by federal withdrawal of authority for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to enforce federal immigration laws.

Arpaio, like Pearce, has been a firebrand on this issue. The sheriff has used "crime suppression sweeps" to detect illegal immigrants, a practice that has been criticized as a violation civil rights and encouraging racial profiling.

Pearce announced plans to push three measures either through the Legislature or a voter initiative to charge illegal immigrants under state trespass laws, prevent local governments from ordering police officers not to inquire about the legal residency of suspects and let prosecutors subpoena information about the hiring of illegal immigrants by companies without first getting a warrant from a judge.

These are all efforts to impose state and local authority where it does not belong. Immigration laws and enforcement are federal matters, not state or local matters.

The idea of using the trespass law is a transparent attempt to simulate a state crime so it can be enforced locally. Most local police don't want to enforce immigration laws - they have enough laws to enforce without having artificial new crimes created.

The proposal to allow prosecutors to obtain illegal hiring information without a warrant is particularly disturbing because it subverts judicial due process.

Glenn Hamer, president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said "the thought of taking away a judicial filter for those types of complaints is scary" because it gives local prosecutors unrestricted access to business records without any proof of wrongdoing.

There is plenty of federal authority to deal with illegal immigration and there are already significant taxpayer-supported enforcement resources. A huge expansion of state authority in this area is undesirable, counterproductive and likely unconstitutional.

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