(Phoenix, Arizona) On Saturday, an estimated 4,000 people marched peacefully for six miles from the Maricopa County Sheriff Office to its “tent city” jail to draw attention to an emerging civil rights crisis in the nation’s fifth largest city. The march was nearly disrupted by the actions of several, well-known white supremacists who hurled racial epithets in an effort- as the Anti-Defamation League noted– to incite violence.
Alarming video footage and photos on white supremacist web pages have surfaced documenting an amicable exchange between Joe Arpaio and his neo-nazi supporters. The videos show Arpaio taking photos with white supremacists and passing along information about the marchers’ progress.
In the past, Arpaio has been criticized by Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon for directing law enforcement resources at the request of white supremacists. Just yesterday, the Sheriff issued a press release announcing the expansion of his “Posse Program” which deputizes and arms local vigilantes.
The following is a statement of Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network in response to recent events:
“The hate and bigotry of Sheriff Arpaio and his supporters must be exposed, confronted, and overcome. What is happening in Maricopa County is nothing short of a human rights crisis on United States soil.
“It is particularly troubling that this is happening in John McCain’s backyard and in Janet Napolitano’s hometown, as both have taken a prominent role in efforts to reform immigration law. Indeed, it is inexcusable that Janet Napolitano allows another hour to pass without terminating the 287(g) contract between her office and Joe Arpaio.
“Above all, we are concerned for the safety of migrants, Latinos, and those who speak out in Arizona. Arpaio has shown a propensity to retaliate against his opponents, and he has now demonstrated a willingness to encourage the same dangerous, right-wing militias Janet Napolitano warned the country about last week.
“On behalf of our 41 member organizations, we call upon the White House to swiftly intervene in order to restore the rule of law and to ensure community safety in Maricopa County.”
National Day Laborer Organizing Network
Contact: Yadira Hernandez (707) 318 2771
for more information on this campaign: https://ndlon.org