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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Columns & Features > Guest Voz > Guest Voz: AZ Mayor Sees No Justice in One Sheriff’s Hunt for Undocumented Immigrants

Guest Voz: AZ Mayor Sees No Justice in One Sheriff’s Hunt for Undocumented Immigrants

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By Hon. Rebecca Jimenez
The state of Arizona has enacted some of the most punitive legislation targeting undocumented immigrants. One man, Joe Arpaio, the Sheriff of Maricopa County, has made it his mission to root out the undocumented in the Phoenix area.
The Sheriff conducts “crime suppression sweeps” which means that he gathers a “posse” of law enforcement officials and they choose a likely spot where they might apprehend an undocumented immigrant.
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Hon. Rebecca Jimenez
(Source: Michelle Castro Smythe)

One town that Sheriff Arpaio has taken his brand of justice is the Town of Guadalupe. Yet, while most political officials where Sheriff Arpaio has conducted these operations have refrained from challenging the Sheriff, one has not.
Her name is Rebecca Jimenez and she is the Mayor of the Town of Guadalupe.
Jimenez made headlines when she had a showdown with the Sheriff when he came to Guadalupe to conduct one of his infamous sweeps.
In the following post, Jimenez outlines the reasons why she nor the Town of Guadalupe want or need the Sheriff’s help.

My name is Rebecca Jimenez and I am the current Mayor of Guadalupe, AZ.
Guadalupe is a Yaqui and Latino community of about 6,000 residents between Phoenix and Tempe at the base of South Mountain. The town proudly maintains a strong cultural and ethnic identity. It is named after the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico.
Guadalupe was founded by Yaqui Indians around the turn of the century. The Town of Guadalupe is approximately one square mile in area. Although Guadalupe did not incorporate until 1975, our history dates back to 1907.
Guadalupe is a dual-culture community, those cultures being of Yaqui and/or Mexican descent. The Yaqui Indians have endured many turbulent times beginning with wars fought among the Spanish and Mexicans. When Porfirio Diaz’ regime persecuted them, the Yaquis fled North into the United States for safety.
Many of the Yaquis came up to the Salt River Valley to work on the construction of canals in the area. A community sprung up here – where we became Guadalupe. Over the years many Latino families have settled in Guadalupe and added their cultural heritage to the community as well.
Guadalupe does not have its own police department. Over the last two decades, the town has had a $1.2 million contract with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).
It has been a tumultuous relationship from the start.

The Town of Guadalupe has many issues that it struggles with daily and the MCSO is one of them. Because the town is composed mostly of residents who are Yaqui Indian or of Mexican descent, the Sheriff deputies view us through a colored lens and treat us accordingly.
When our townspeople call Sheriff Arpaio’s deputies for help, even for Priority One calls, it has taken up to 45 minutes for them to arrive, even as recently as two weeks ago.
Once the deputies do arrive, they treat the victims as if they are the criminals. This has been a challenge to our town and council because it is such a close-knit community that word quickly spreads about the insensitive and even abusive behavior of the deputies when they interact with our people.
Even before I became Mayor in December 2007, I had several encounters with deputies that illustrate the ignorance and prejudice of the Sheriff’s deputies.
I would often call their superior, Lieutenant Shephard, and ask why their deputies always came into town with “their guns drawn,” and treating our people as sub-human.
Once, he answered that one of his deputies’ cars had been vandalized, so they felt threatened in the community. Another time, one of the deputies called me a “fat pig,” when I called to report this to Lt. Shephard, he said, “You must have deserved it.” I wonder if he remembers me now.
Although the council has tried repeatedly to get out of this contract with Sheriff Arpaio, we have been unable to garner interest from other police departments in the Metro Phoenix area. No one was interested in serving Guadalupe in this capacity.
Until now.
Last week, April 3rd, 2008, changed all that and Guadalupe is on the verge of something fabulous.
Because of the increased media attention, the City of Phoenix has communicated to us that they are now willing to consider entering into a law enforcement contract between their police department and the Town of Guadalupe.
So, out of something negative came a positive.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio is using these sweeps as a way to campaign and garner support from like-minded voters. He is using taxpayer money for these purposes and is able to do so by pandering to a chosen few and disguising his “Gestapo”-like tactics as valid law-enforcement against the “illegal” immigration problem.
From my own perspective, I see Sheriff Arpaio as a danger to the future growth and prosperity of the Phoenix Metro area, especially in Guadalupe.
His tactics not only drive a wedge between mainstream America and Latinos, they also cause a rift between Americans of Latino descent and the undocumented, as some may feel they have to create a separation between “us” and “them.”
It’s also dangerous because he does not care about the overt discrimination present in his tactics. One of the undercover patrol cars had a Sinaloa, Mexico license plate, which just reinforces who he is targeting and who he views as the enemy.
The problem with this is that all Latinos are viewed through the same distorted lens and we have to constantly justify our existence in this country.
Maybe Sheriff Arpaio needs to be reminded that he is a Sheriff in the year 2008 not 1888.
Everyone can do something to combat him, and people like him.
Other than voting him out of office, one way is to stand up to him. Our town, and neighboring community members, came out in force to protest his particular brand of covert racism.
For the first time, Sheriff Joe had to retreat and move his command post out of the community he was targeting. I hope that this event can serve to motivate other leaders and “ordinary” citizens to do the right thing and stand up to this type of modern-day, racialized scare tactics.
Hon. Rebecca Jimenez
Mayor, Town of Guadalupe

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Comment(21)

  • Avatar
    laura
    April 11, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Rebecca is a Latina hero. Thank you for finding and posting this, Marisa.
    We know that Sheriff Arpaio will go down in disgrace. People like him always do. The question is, how many innocent people can he hurt before his trampling of others’ rights catches up with him.

  • Avatar
    Texano78704
    April 11, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    “The problem with this is that all Latinos are viewed through the same distorted lens and we have to constantly justify our existence in this country.”
    Isn’t that the truth!

  • Avatar
    Frank
    April 12, 2008 at 8:15 am

    I see a lot of accusations and assumptions here like “racism”, etc. Where is the proof of that? If the Sheriff is looking for illegal aliens, what specifically is he doing wrong?

  • Avatar
    Jax
    April 12, 2008 at 9:09 am

    The Mayor doesn’t make mention of any illegals in her town. If there are any, and there probably are, they should be rooted out and sent home.
    I’ve never been a fan of Sheriff Joe’s tactics, but someone needs to do the job of getting rid of illegal aliens, wherever they are.

  • Avatar
    proinmigrant
    April 12, 2008 at 9:13 am

    Unfortunately under the eyes of the people who wants to enforce the laws they do not have compassion either Humanity. A words from a little girl who’s saw taking away their parents.
    Dear Mr. Proinmigrant, I just had to write to you
    Something really scared me, when I saw it.
    I don’t understand
    Why they took my mom and dad away
    I know that they don’t mean to hit with wild and angry hands
    Tell them just how big they are I pray
    please tell me what to do
    Please don’t let them hurt my parents as well as other childrens.
    Az
    Texano. I am hoping that really change your mind of the tactics of fear using against Hispanics and once for all. Stop the fear mongering, scapegoating, dimishing Latinos, Hispanic. We need to send a Message that Joe Arpaio breaking their constitutional rights taking the law on his own hands.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    April 12, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Sherriff Joe isn’t breaking any laws. If he were he would have been removed from his position.

  • Avatar
    Jax
    April 12, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Pro inmigrant (Spell?)
    Illegals have no constitutional rights.
    While I feel sorry for the little girl the fault lies with the parents who placed her in that sad situation.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    April 12, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Proimmigrant said: “….send a Message that Joe Arpaio breaking their constitutional rights taking the law on his own hands.”
    Actually, he’s a policeman, one who’s trusted to enforce the law. I guess you’d say that he’s the “hands” that we legally entrust the law to.
    Latinos diminish themselves by protecting illegal immigrants and it is they who are taking the law into their own hands by making the decision to nullify them by preventing their enforcement. History will not be on the side of the Latino community when all is said and done.

  • Avatar
    Michelle
    April 12, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Hmmmm. It’s funny that some people see Arpaio as a folk hero who is protecting America from the brown scourge. I often wonder if Germans in Nazi Germany saw Hitler in the same light, as a national hero who was bettering Germany by ridding itself of the people it deemed undesirable. It’s okay for people to come here and serve our food, pick our vegetables, clean our homes, care for our children, landscape our lawns, construct our cities, but God forbid that they should try to better themselves while they’re here. WWJS.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    April 12, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    Oh, please Michelle, comparing one of our deputized law enforcement officials to Hitler is totally dishonest and ridiculous. It has nothing to do with skin color. It has to do with all illegals and they come in every skin color. It just so happens that in Sheriff Joe’s territory, there is a high concentration of Mexican illegals.
    Who asked these people to clean our houses or serve our food? It was corporate greedy America not your everyday law abiding American.
    They have no right to “better themselves” in violation of our immigration laws. Come legally or don’t come at all!

  • Avatar
    Hran
    April 12, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    Michelle:
    There is nothing wrong with Mexicans and non-white ethnic groups, of course, but the rate of immigration means that white America will be annihilated. That doesn’t matter to you, but we would rather preserve and defend our ethnic identity. Latinos are a Trojan Horse. They vote Democratic, the party that supports the ideology of progressive, PC liberalism. A goal of this ideology is the annihilation of white America. One of its tools is immigration and open borders.
    The cheap ethnic labor benefits the owners. We don’t need it. It has brought us to this sorry state of affairs where white America faces destruction, but cannot defend itself, because that would be “racist”.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    April 13, 2008 at 8:45 am

    Michelle said: “Hmmmm. It’s funny that some people see Arpaio as a folk hero who is protecting America from the brown scourge. I often wonder if Germans in Nazi Germany saw Hitler in the same light, as a national hero who was bettering Germany by ridding itself of the people it deemed undesirable. It’s okay for people to come here and serve our food, pick our vegetables, clean our homes, care for our children, landscape our lawns, construct our cities, but God forbid that they should try to better themselves while they’re here. WWJS.”
    Call Arapaio a bully if you will, but demonizing him is hardly fair. Hmm, isn’t the propensity to demonize one of those things illegal alien advocates object to. How ironic that it should be a commonly used tool of theirs.
    I can hardly see Arapaio as a Nazi or one who’s trying to purge America of brown people. It’s hate mongering to assert a comparison between his anger at Hispanics in concealing illegal aliens and your analogy to that of the genocide of the Jews. As to eliminating brown people as a policy, I understand that he only wishes to remove illegal aliens, and that’s already a policy governed by immigration laws, applying to white, brown, black and yellow people, regardless of their occupations. It’s only when it’s their turn that brown people resort to pulling the race card. The 14th Amendment assures that due process is followed and that people are punished more or less equally for the same crime. Not to deport Hispanic illegal aliens would violate that principle. To say that it’s ok to violate our laws to justify an act is to use the old illegitmate argument that the ends justifies the means.
    This “contribution” thing is just an excuse for condoning bad behavior.
    Just because people are productive and contribute to society doesn’t mean that they become immune to the law. I work, and contribute to the economy as do millions of Americans of all races and ethnic groups, but we do not expect that to be a consideration if called before the bar of justice.
    As to bettering oneself, if Mexicans and Central Americans were to compete within the subset of world population poor, they would be losers in the competition for actual need if survival it the prime consideration. Mexicans are not starving, but there are millions in Africa ans Asia who are. Shouldn’t they be first in line for jobs currently done by illegal aliens, or would you rather have them die to satisfy your own selfish ends? I think that you really don’t care.

  • Avatar
    laura
    April 13, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    You are right, Michelle.
    When Hitler came to power in 1933, he had gained only 35% of the votes. He came to power because the German corporate bosses thought his brutal violence against Jews and trade unionists would protect their power (as it did in the short run), so they gave him massive financial and political support.
    Hitler came to power with the 35% of Germans who thought that blaming their troubles on a minority would work better for them than rolling up their own sleeves and working to improve their own lives.
    Hitler came to power because 65% of Germans thought, better be silent, nothing will happen to me or my family.
    In the end, he destroyed Germany completely.
    In the US today, the little Nazis are an even smaller percentage of the population – maybe 20 or 25%. Yes, they expend a lot of time on verbal and physical violence against the minority they are blaming for their troubles – undocumented Latino immigrants. They have in common with the German Nazis, that they prefer not to roll up their sleeves to work on their own lives. You will not see any of them taking classes, teaching English as a second language, volunteering, building up a new enterprise or a new charity. That is why the “Franks, Horaces, Jax, Publius, etc” have so much time to post hate messages on this and other sites.
    The American little Nazis also have in common with the German ones of 75 years ago, that they receive massive corporate support. Who is paying Lou Dobbs and Pat Buchanan and Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly?
    But the only way they could prevail is if we remain silent in the face of the violence they are advocating. That is why Rebecca is a hero – because she is standing up to that violence.
    We are many more than they are. We only have to stand up.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    April 13, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    No, Sheriff Joe is going after illegal aliens who have no right to be in this country. There is no comparison to him and Hitler.
    Who invited these people to serve our food and pick our vegetables, etc.? It was greedy corrupt employers wanting the cheap illegal labor, not your everyday law abiding American citizen.
    No one has a right to better their lives by entering our country illegally. There is a legal way to come here.

  • Avatar
    Proinmigrant
    April 13, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    Jax,
    Rather than use the question mark could you used your common sense why do I used Proinmigrant rather than judge me for misspelling?
    Regarding that the Undocumented Immigrants Do not have any rights.. You are wrong..
    I copied for you the U.S. Constitution 14th Amendment and check section 2.
    U.S. Constitution: Fourteenth Amendment
    Fourteenth Amendment – Rights Guaranteed Privileges and Immunities of Citizenship, Due Process and Equal Protection
    Amendment Text
    Annotations
    Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
    Section. 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
    Section. 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
    Section. 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void

  • Avatar
    Horace
    April 14, 2008 at 6:01 am

    “Who is paying Lou Dobbs and Pat Buchanan and Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly?”
    More ridiculous comparisons from the spinners. The Hitler and Nazi inappropriate comparison with Hitler and the Nazis just shows how far these people will go in demonizing their opposition.
    Actually, all those millions of fans of Lou Dobbs and O’Reilly are paying their salaries by watching the ads shown between segments. They wouldn’t be on the air but for their vast adoring audience. Their success just shows how out of touch with America Laura and the Hispanic population are.

  • Avatar
    Liquidmicro
    April 14, 2008 at 10:10 am

    You don’t really believe yourself now do you ProInmigrant?
    Read the Preamble to the Constitution, here I copied it for you:
    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
    Do you see the part that says “promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”, its the part that says “Ourselves and our Posterity” that denies Constitutional Rights to everybody with the exception of Citizens and Legal Residents.
    You are confusing Constitutional Rights with Civil Law.

  • Avatar
    Liquidmicro
    April 14, 2008 at 11:59 am

    You are confusing Constitutional Rights with Civil Law.
    Above should actually state:
    You are confusing Constitutional Rights with Common Law.

  • Avatar
    Texano78704
    April 15, 2008 at 10:07 am

    “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
    Don’t see anything in there about cultural supremacy.
    By the way, Proinmigrante, I think you misunderstood me, I agree with Mayor Jiménez.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    April 15, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    “Cultural supremancy”? Where did that come from?

  • Avatar
    Shasiti
    September 22, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    To Mayor Rebbecca:
    YOU CANNOT decide which laws are going to be enforced and which ones you don’t want enforced. THERE are illegals in your city and you are trying to protect them. They are here illegally!! They know that when they cross the border, they choose to put there childern at risk when they cross illegally. I hope all the businesses in your city go under and Legal U.S citizens choose to leave. Illegals steal our social security numbers and with that our idenities and YOU HAVE THE BALLS TO SAY THEY ARE NOT CRIMINALS??

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