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July 30th, 2010
Sheriff Joe Won't Put Away the Broom

Nowhere in the U.S. is local enforcement more present than in metropolitan Phoenix, where Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio routinely carries out sweeps, some in Hispanic neighborhoods, to arrest illegal immigrants. The tactics have made him the undisputed poster boy for local immigration enforcement and the anger that so many authorities feel about the issue.

"It's my job," said Arpaio, standing beside a sheriff's truck that has a number for an immigration hot line written on its side. "I have two state (immigration) laws that I am enforcing. It's not federal, it's state."

In addition to Arpaio's crackdowns, other efforts include a steady stream of busts by the state and local police of stash houses where smugglers hide illegal immigrants. The state attorney general has taken a money-wiring company to civil court on allegations that smugglers used their service to move money to Mexico. And a county south of Phoenix has its sheriff's deputies patrol dangerous smuggling corridors.

Arpaio, a 78-year-old ex-federal drug agent who fashions himself as a modern-day John Wayne, launched his latest sweep Thursday afternoon, sending about 200 sheriff's deputies and trained volunteers out across metro Phoenix to look for traffic violators who may be here illegally.

Sixty percent of the nearly 1,000 people arrested in the sweeps since early 2008 have been illegal immigrants. Thursday's dragnet led to four arrests, but it wasn't clear if any of them were illegal immigrants.

Deputy Bob Dalton and volunteer Heath Kowacz spotted a driver with a cracked windshield in a poor Phoenix neighborhood near a busy freeway. Dalton triggered the red and blue police lights and pulled over 28-year-old Alfredo Salas, who was born in Mexico but has lived in Phoenix with a resident alien card since 1993. Dalton gave him a warning after Salas produced his license and registration and told him to get the windshield fixed.

Salas, a married father of two who installs granite, told The Associated Press that he was treated well but he wondered whether he was pulled over because his truck is a Ford Lobo.

"It's a Mexican truck so I don't know if they saw that and said, 'I wonder if he has papers or not,'" Salas said. "If that's the case, it kind of gets me upset."

Critics say deputies racially profile Hispanics. Arpaio says deputies approach people only when they have probable cause.

"Sheriff Joe Arpaio and some other folks there decided they can make a name for themselves in terms of the intensity of the efforts they're using," said Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the pro-immigrant Immigration Policy Center. "There's no way to deny that. There are a lot of people getting caught up in these efforts."

"I'm not going to brag," Arpaio said. "Just look at the record. I'm doing what I feel is right for the people of Maricopa County."

A ruling Wednesday by a federal judge put on hold parts of the new law that would have required officers to dig deeper into the fight against illegal immigration. Arizona says it was forced to act because the federal government isn't doing its job to fight immigration.

(YAHOO!)

 


 


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Comments:


Keep Sweeping - 2010-08-03
Let the man do his job!!!!!!
by Taum



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