LatinaLista — For anyone who has been monitoring immigration events in Arizona, long before SB 1070 was written, the story was all about Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Federal officials to local activists agree that Arpaio’s law enforcement tactics are reminiscent of a time in history when town sheriffs designated themselves the law and answered to no one when it came to wielding their own style of justice.
It now seems that Arpaio doesn’t just see himself as an enforcer of immigration laws but also as an employment counselor.
Yesterday, Arpaio conducted a work site raid where he arrested 14 people at the Prime Cut Meat & Seafood Co., a Phoenix meat packing business. Five of those people were accused of using false IDs.
However, contrary to assurances from the Department of Homeland Security that children would not be abandoned due to the arrest of an undocumented parent, the manager of the business recounted a different story:
“One of the people that were taken away today gave her house keys to one of the girls in the office and asked her, pleaded with her, ‘Please,’ could she go to her house and get her 14-year-old son when he gets home from school because there was no one there and she doesn’t have any other family,” said Chad Poppen, General Manager of the plant.
The manager said that most of the people who were arrested had been with him for over ten years, long before E-Verify went into effect.
“Legally, if you read what it states in the e-verify system, I am not allowed to go back and check on these employees that have already been employed with me,” said Poppen.
When commenting about the arrests, Arpaio, sounded more like a politician stumping for office on a jobs platform. According to Arpaio, the undocumented immigrants he arrested were taking jobs U.S. citizens could have. In other words, he’s implying that he’s doing a favor for the city’s unemployed.
Yet, in the hours after the raid, about 80 people showed up to fill the vacancies — the vast majority of them were Latino according to Poppen.
Arpaio’s tactics are disturbing because his no-tolerance policy doesn’t allow for these people to be seen as people whom even the government has tried to humanize in some small way.
What’s even more disturbing, as reported by one source, is that Arpaio “is creating an all volunteer posse to augment the his SB1070 efforts. That posse is schedule to hit the streets within the next several weeks and will concentrate solely fighting illegal immigration.”
If true, then Maricopa County won’t just have one so-called Wild West lawman on their hands but a group, for whom the law will have little meaning since their leader considers himself the only law in the land.