Tag: undocumented immigrants in Arizona

2010-04-09_Immigration_Reform_Rally_340.jpg

With Eye On SB 1070, AZ Reacts to Supreme Court Ruling On Employer Sanctions Law

Both supporters and opponents of Arizona’s SB 1070 see reason for hope in last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the state law requiring employers to verify the immigration status of prospective employees.

Radio

Voices From Demonstration Against Arizona’s New Immigration Law

Fi2W’s Valeria Fernandez produced a radio feature for Latino USA on last week’s big protest in Phoenix against SB 1070.

Slaying of Arizona Rancher Fuels Debate Over Proposed Anti-Immigrant Bill

The killing of a rancher near the U.S.-Mexico border enraged supporters of a bill in the Arizona legislature that would allow police to arrest migrants for trespassing in the state.

Arizona Sheriff Defiant as Debate Over Local Immigration Enforcement Program Intensifies

PHOENIX, Arizona — A proposed agreement, scheduled to be voted on today by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, may offer a glimpse of the federal government’s plans to modify a widely criticized program that authorizes local police to enforce U.S. immigration laws.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks to the press in Phoenix as Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas looks on.  Photo: Valeria Fernandez

Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks to the press in Phoenix as Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas looks on. Photo: Valeria Fernandez

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has the largest force in the nation authorized under the 287(g) program. Under the existing agreement sheriff’s deputies were able to question people about their immigration status during traffic stops and other types of police investigations. The new contract limits deputies under the command of Sheriff Joe Arpaio to identify undocumented immigrants only within the county jails.

Recently, the Southwest Border Taskforce, an advisory group set up by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, recommended that the 287(g) program be scaled back, limiting its use to identifying undocumented migrants in jails.

In July, Napolitano announced a review of all 287(g) agreements across the nation. The new contracts would focus on the apprehension of immigrants with a criminal record, she said.

The Department of Homeland Security gave all 66 participating agencies a 90-day-period to review the new contracts and sign them. But DHS hasn’t confirmed whether it will continue working with Arpaio in any fashion.

“We’re still in the signing window process,” said Vincent Picard a spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). “No final decisions have been made.”

DHS has until October 14th –the end of the 90 day review period- to decide whether Arpaio will retain any immigration powers at all. But that hasn’t stopped the sheriff or his critics from renewing their war of words over the treatment of undocumented immigrants.

“They just don’t want this sheriff to investigate and arrest illegal aliens,” said Arpaio during a press conference yesterday. (more…)

Anti-Immigrant Bills Fail in Arizona and Human Rights Activists Celebrate

PHOENIX, Arizona — A wave of bills aimed at criminalizing undocumented immigrants in Arizona have failed in the state legislature. Divisive budget discussions and a split in the Republican Party, which holds the majority in the legislature, have been cited as reasons for the defeats. But local human rights activists, who organized opposition to the bills, are taking some of the credit as well.

Day Laborer Arrested by Phoenix PD

Day Laborer Arrested by Phoenix PD. (Photo: A.J. Alexander)

Arizona has been called a “laboratory for anti-immigrant laws” for the rest of the nation. In 2007, the state adopted one of the country’s toughest employer sanctions laws for companies that knowingly hire undocumented labor.

But this year saw the failure of some 27 bills aimed at clamping down on immigrants. “We did extremely well this year, dealing with the anti-immigrant legislation, it’s the most successful year we had,” said Democratic legislator Ben Miranda, who voted against the proposals.

He credits the defeat, in part, to the split between Republican legislators and Gov. Jan Brewer over budget issues.

As divisive budget discussions were coming to an end a flood of anti-immigration bills were introduced, with Republican State Sen. Russell Pearce at the helm of the effort.

Pearce introduced 17 of the bills, ranging from a proposal to eliminate what he called “sanctuary policies” that keep local police from inquiring about a person’s immigration status to a measure requiring school districts to ask their students about their immigration status.

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Podcast

Immigrant Family Torn Apart in Arizona Raid

Sheriff Arpaio has arrested 248 immigrants in raids allegedly aimed at unlawful hiring, but no employer has been penalized.

PHOENIX, Arizona — Katherine Figueroa was playing outside her home Saturday morning when she overheard the news coming from a nearby TV. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office had just raided the car wash where her father and mother worked.

She rushed to see her dad’s image on television. His expression looked worried, his hands were tied with plastic cuffs.

Her eyes filled with tears, the 9-year-old made a plea to President Barack Obama to return her parents home in a video produced by Arizona activists and reports on the Univision network.

“I want my parents back, is not fair for me to be alone,” said Katherine who was born in the U.S. and is a U. S. citizen.

Katherine Figueroa saw her father's immigration arrest on TV. (Photo: Valeria Fernández)

Katherine Figueroa saw her father's immigration arrest on TV. (Photos: Valeria Fernández)

Listen to Katherine in an interview with Feet in 2 Worlds:

[audio:http://www.jocelyngonzales.net/FI2W/fi2w_valeria_katharin.mp3]

Although the federal government has announced changes to its policies regarding work-site immigration raids, not much has changed in the Phoenix area, where Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is implementing what critics call “his own brand of law.”

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Volunteer is Convicted of Littering for Leaving Water Jugs in the Desert to Save Migrants' Lives

By Valeria Fernández, FI2W contributor
José Lopez, 22, a migrant from Chiapas, Mexico got lost in the Sonoran desert in Arizona during three days and he survived on the water he found on water stations set in place by humanitarian groups. (Photo: Valeria Fernández)

José Lopez, 22, a migrant from Chiapas, Mexico, got lost in the Sonoran desert in Arizona for three days and survived on the water he found at water stations set in place by humanitarian groups. (Photo: Valeria Fernández)

AJO, Arizona — José López, 22, injured his left leg while jumping the border fence in the middle of the night as Border Patrol agents chased him. At daylight, he found himself lost and alone in the middle of the Sonoran desert. Three days later he ran out of water and food. He survived by refilling his jug at water tank stations he happened to find across the desert, until he found a road and, in desperation, turned himself in to the Border Patrol.

As three-digit summer temperatures loom, human rights activists are stepping up their efforts to provide humanitarian aid in the form of water and food to immigrants who cross the Mexican border into Arizona. The state is a principal gateway for unauthorized migration to the U.S.

Humanitarian groups argue their goal is to save lives. Border crossers are often abandoned by human smugglers and get lost in the arid terrain without water. But sometimes those involved in efforts to aid the migrants encounter roadblocks and even prosecution. A volunteer was convicted Wednesday of littering for leaving water jugs in a national refuge.

“We have a humanitarian crisis on our borders, it is a disaster and very little if anything is being done to address it in a humanitarian way,” said Laura Ilardo, coordinator of the Phoenix chapter of No More Deaths.

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