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How the government misrepresented who undocumented immigrants really are

One of the fundamental factors causing debate over illegal immigration enforcement is the public perception of undocumented immigrants. Are they real criminals? Some in law enforcement have gone to great lengths to paint them in this light. Yet a new examination of government immigration enforcement strategies uncovers a deliberate attempt to confuse real criminals with those who only lack the proper paperwork.

LatinaLista — Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is the quintessential marketer when it comes to creating media buzz on his unique style of law enforcement.
It’s what garnered him his own show on the Fox reality network titled “Smile …You’re Under Arrest!” Yet, it’s his immigration enforcement tactics that have made him the darling of right-wing supporters, scorned by those repulsed by his methods and admired by those constituents who feel he’s doing a good job keeping them safe.
From stakeouts in Hispanic-heavy neighborhoods with his “posse” of law enforcement to catch unsuspecting undocumented immigrants to his latest tactic of mass-marching 200 shackled immigrant inmates from a brick-and-mortar jail to the infamous Tent City electric fence complex, Sheriff Arpaio obviously relishes the role as immigration enforcer.
And while the 21,183 undocumented immigrants Sheriff Arpaio is credited with turning over to immigration authorities for deportation is staggering for a county sheriff — his latest press release boasts 67 arrests in the last 13 days — the larger reality is that the only crime most of these immigrants have committed is not having their papers in order.
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Comment(3)

  • Horace
    February 6, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Sure they lack the proper paperwork, because they never never applied for it in the first place or would ever qualify for it under our immigration laws if they did. Our laws are designed to preclude green cards from going to the poor and illiterate who more than likely would prevail upon our social welfare systems to support their children. And those rules are not just for Latinos, but for all would-be immigrants to the U.S. And when they do enter illegally, every one of those people who applies for work commits fraud on their W-9 Forms by swearing an oath that they are eligible for work, an act punishable under federal law. And nearly all purchase fraudulent documents to deceive their employers, i.e. Social Security Cards. Both citizen and non-citizen alike are prosecutable for doing these things. Just because you excuse illegal aliens for doing so, its supposed to be sufficient justification to ignore such actions. Well, Marisa, anybody with personal integrity would object to this. I’ll leave it to your readers to decide what kind of citizen you are.

  • Horacio
    February 7, 2009 at 10:46 am

    More on this sad clown, now from NYT.
    Arpaio’s America
    Published: February 5, 2009
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/06/opinion/06fri2.html
    Mejores deseos,
    H.
    Amsterdam
    Netherlands

  • laura
    February 9, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Marisa, Arpaio is a sad excuse for a human being. But what about these news that should alert true law enforcement officers, who actually see their job as protecting the public (as opposed to promoting their own appearances on TV): violence of Mexican drug cartels is now showing up in places like Phoenix and Atlanta.
    Yahoo news reports that “In the past year, more than 5,000 people have been killed across Mexico in a power struggle among Mexico’s drug cartels and ferocious fighting between them and the Mexican government. The cartels have established operations in at least 230 U.S. cities, according to the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center. ”
    and
    “Americans provide 95 percent of the weapons used by the cartel, according to U.S. authorities. And Americans are the cartels’ best customers, sending an estimated $28.5 billion in drug-sale proceeds across the Mexico border each year.”
    These extremely brutal cartels are operating in Phoenix, Mr. Arpaio’s territory. Why isn’t he going after them instead of after workers who are working without a visa?
    Because they are actually dangerous.
    Cowardice is one of the signature features of these anti-immigrant actors. You can recognize them by it every time.

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