by Christina Lovato, University of New Mexico-Talk Radio News Service
“All I want to do is except these petitions, welcome you, advise you that the Department of Justice has an investigation going on surrounding activities in Maricopa County and guess what, your not the only ones that have a sheriff that needs to be investigated in this country.” said Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) at a press conference to present a petition of more than 38,000 signatures calling on the Department of Justice and Homeland Security to investigate Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s alleged civil rights abuses.
Arpaio has 2,700 lawsuits filed against him and this month the House Judiciary Committee called for the Justice Department to conduct a federal investigation on Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s enforcement tactics.
Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) expressed that the sheriff’s tactics are examples of police power and are a violation of federal law. Nadler said, “In 2009, in the United States, we simply cannot tolerate such patterns of discrimination and denial of due process. Sheriff Arpaio’s malicious and vigilante practices are not immigration enforcement.” stated Nadler.
“We carry the burden of being stuck with this man but it is not an Arizona problem, this is a national disgrace…It can’t be tolerated.” said Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.). Grijalva said he never supported the 287(g) program which trains local officers to enforce immigration law. “Put it in the wrong hands, it becomes abusive, discriminatory, and breaks the law and that’s what happened here…That particular program, the worst case scenario was in front of you and that Sheriff Arpaio.” he said.
Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said that the 287(g) program is the Bush Administration’s failed experiment to outsource federal responsibility and expressed that the change we all voted for last November will soon bring order to the broken immigration system. “We must turn the page and we must together restore the nation’s promise for life, liberty and for the pursuit of happiness for all.” concluded Alvarado.