Salvador Reza of the Puente Movement responded to today's Department of Justice settlement for access to records in Sheriff Arpaio's office with the following statement.
"Nearly three years after the beginning of their investigation, the Department of Justice should be intervening in Maricopa county not just investigating. The people of Maricopa have been living with a likely criminal at the head of our law enforcement for years and it's time for relief. The County Sheriff's Office should be placed under receivership without delay. Anything less than immediate intervention in our human rights crisis makes President Obama and former Governor Napolitano accomplices in the reign of terror- and likely criminal behavior- of Sheriff Joe Arpaio."
The Department of Homeland Security which empowers Sheriff Arpaio through its ICE Access programs has recently come under fire for the expansion of Arpaio-style policies throughout the country through the "Secure Communities" program. The agency has been accused of emulating the lack of transparency and discriminatory practices under investigation in the office of Sheriff Arpaio. As a result, the DHS' spread of Arpaio-style policies is also coming under investigation by the OIG and is facing a growing call for an end to ICE Access programs that entangle local police in immigration laws. ...
BIRMINGHAM, AL – The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) today filed a federal challenge to Alabama’s draconian anti-immigrant law. Modeled on Arizona’s infamous SB 1070 but taking it to even greater extremes, the Alabama law is considered the most pernicious anti-immigrant state law to date.
The DOJ lawsuit follows on the heels of HICA v. Bentley, a class-action challenge asserting that the law is unconstitutional on multiple grounds, filed on July 8 by the National Immigration Law Center and a coalition of civil rights organizations. On July 21, the coalition filed a request that the court block the law from taking effect, pending a final ruling on the law’s constitutionality. The hearing to determine whether the court should enjoin the law has been set for August 24, 2011 in the civil rights coalition case.
The following statements can be attributed to various members of the coalition:
Pablo Alvarado, director, National Day Laborer Organizing Network:
"The suit filed by the DOJ is an acknowledgement of the civil rights crisis caused by the Arizonification of our country and deepened in states like Alabama and Georgia where they have built upon Arizona's laws. We welcome the administration's action but see it as treating the symptom rather than the illness. More easily than court proceedings, President Obama could bring relief to our communities with the stroke of a pen."
Linton Joaquin, general counsel, National Immigration Law Center:
“Today, the federal government rightly asserted that states cannot lawfully ignore the U.S. Constitution and enact their own sweeping immigration laws. Alabama’s law – like its ideological predecessors in Arizona, Utah, Indiana, and Georgia – is an affront to our American and constitutional values. We welcome the federal government’s challenge, and we look forward to continuing our own legal battle to permanently remove this law from Alabama’s lawbooks.”
Sam Brooke, attorney, Southern Poverty Law Center:
“It has been clear from the start that this law is blatantly overreaching and seriously flawed. We welcome the federal government’s involvement in preventing this dangerous and costly law from going into effect.”
Cecilia Wang, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project:
“We applaud the government for taking action to stop Alabama’s anti-immigrant law. Today’s lawsuit will help protect the civil rights of Alabamians against legislation that mandates unlawful police searches and seizures in the name of immigration enforcement.”
Olivia Turner, executive director, ACLU of Alabama:
“We welcome the federal government’s effort to block Alabama’s unconstitutional HB 56. We hope this law will be enjoined, just like the law in Arizona that inspired it.”
Erin Oshiro, senior staff attorney, Asian American Justice Center, a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice:
“It is encouraging that the Department of Justice decided to challenge Alabama’s anti-immigrant bill. This move sends a strong signal to Alabama and other states that the federal government takes its immigration authority seriously and serves as a warning to states considering these types of unconstitutional laws.”
Victor Viramontes, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund National Senior Counsel
"It is appropriate that the Department of Justice has sued to block Alabama's illegal and discriminatory law that unfairly targets Latinos."
Attorneys on the case include Brooke , Mary Bauer , Andrew Turner, Michelle Lapointe, Dan Werner, and Naomi Tsu of the Southern Poverty Law Center; Cecillia D. Wang, Katherine Desormeau, Kenneth J. Sugarman, Andre Segura, Elora Mukherjee, Omar C. Jadwat, Lee Gelernt, Michael K. T. Tan of the American Civil Liberties Union and Freddy Rubio of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama; Joaquin, Karen C. Tumlin, Tanya Broder, Shiu-Ming Cheer, Melissa S. Keaney, and Vivek Mittal of the National Immigration Law Center; Sin Yen Ling of the Asian Law Caucus; Oshiro of the Asian American Justice Center; Foster Maer, Ghita Schwarz and Diana Sen of Latino Justice; Thomas Saenz, Nina Perales, Viramontes, Amy Pederson, and Martha Gomez of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund; Jessica Karp of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network; G. Brian Spears, Ben Bruner, Herman Watson, Jr., Eric J. Artrip and Rebekah Keith McKinney. ...
- July, 2008: Arpaio Sued Over Racial Profiling
- 2009 Report: Arpaio Law Enforcement Slows as Immigration Enforcement Quickens
- Feb, 2009: Arpaio Creates Outdoor Tent-City Segregated by Immigration Status
- Sept, 2010: Arpaio Uncooperative in DoJ investigation
- July 30, 2010: Arpaio Wrongfully Arrests Local Human Rights Leader
- May, 2011: Groups Call for Resignation
Today the Department of Justice concluded its three year investigation into civil rights violations in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. In response to the detailed report, Pablo Alvarado of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network issued the following response:
“The Department of Justice report formally and forcefully describes a civil and human rights crisis in Maricopa County; one that has moved hundreds of thousands to demonstrate around the globe over the past several years.
It is a ringing indictment of a Sheriff’s office that has 'treated all Latinos as if they were undocumented' and the federal immigration contracts that have made such prejudice possible. It is the most detailed chronicle of the failed end result of the federal programs that make monsters out of local law enforcement.
We have waited three years for federal intervention to restore justice in Maricopa County. Now that the Department of Justice has outlined the symptoms, it is time for the Department of Homeland security to terminate its immigration contracts with the Sheriff as a first step toward a cure.”
The Department of Justice report outlines years of biased policing that created “a chronic culture of disregard for basic legal and constitutional obligations (page 2).”
It goes on to detail that deputies used excessive force against Latinos and built a “wall of distrust between MCSO officers and Maricopa County Latino residents (page 2).”
The report finds, “Since roughly 2007, in the course of establishing its immigration enforcement program, MCSO has implemented practices that treat Latinos as if they are all undocumented, regardless of whether a legitimate factual basis exists to suspect that a person is undocumented (page 6).”
“Sheriff Arpaio has promoted a culture of bias in his organization and clearly communicated to his officers that biased policing would not only be tolerated, but encouraged (page 9).”
The Full Report can be read: http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/spl/mcso.php