NDLON in the News

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Congressman Grijalva Joins AZ and National Leaders to Commend DOJ Investigation on Arpaio

Link to recording of today’s call:  http://ndlon.org/docs/2011arpaio.mp3

Phoenix, AZ- Yesterday, the United States Department of Justice released a scathing report, confirming the “discriminatory policing practices” that Sheriff Joe Arpaio has used to terrorize the Latino community of Maricopa County for years and prompting the Department of Homeland Security to terminate the Sheriff’s 287(g) agreement and restrict his access to the controversial S-Comm program, 

 

On a press call today, national and local leaders reacted to the reports findings, commending the investigation as a step towards serving the Latino community with the justice they so long deserve.

 

According to U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), “Sheriff Arpaio believes physical appearance is probable cause to stop and question individuals about their immigration status. Even after a Department of Justice investigation has told him otherwise, he continues to believe there’s no issue here. There’s nothing fair, equal or constitutional about racial profiling. His obsessive, politically motivated assault on Hispanics has destroyed public trust in his office and put innocent lives in danger. Federal law enforcement officials are right to name his failed tenure for what it is, and I hope he takes the honorable route by resigning immediately.”

DOJ’s announcement is no surprise to the Latino community.  Arpaio has a long history of extreme enforcement tactics and discriminatory behavior.  Mary Rose Wilcox, Maricopa County Supervisor, saw firsthand the type of suffering in the Latino community inflicted by Arpaio’s abusive practices. “A line in the report that stands out above others is that for the past four years, the Sheriff’s department has treated all Latinos as if they were undocumented. It is a sobering statement that shows how the Sheriff used anti-immigrant sentiment as a pretext to violate the civil rights of our County’s residents. For three years our community has pounded the doors of elected officials to let them know this must stop. My dream is for Sheriff Arpaio to resign or be kicked out of office and for his office to be taken into receivership. Still, we feel relief today because the truth has been told about this Sheriff in a manner that cannot be denied.”

 

 

Speakers also lifted up Arpaio’s case as an example of the disastrous consequences of DHS policies that trample on the rights of entire communities.

Salvador Reza, Phoenix Civil Rights Leader whose wrongful arrest was cited in the DOJ report, explained, “We are happy to see Janet Napolitano’s actions yesterday but I’d like to caution that it’s not over. The longer Arpaio is not under receivership or indicted, the longer this will continue as a political football locally and nationally. This should be a wakeup call to DHS and for Sheriffs across the country who are using federal immigration programs to emulate Arpaio.”

 

Randy Parraz, Co-Founder, President of Citizens for a Better Arizona, added, “Yesterday’s report by the DOJ validates many of the abusive practices and policies that we have been experiencing as Latinos and critics of Sheriff Arpaio.   We, Citizens for a Better Arizona, will continue to organize across the county to create the pressure needed to force Sheriff Arpaio to resign.”

According to Arturo Venegas, Director of the Law Enforcement Engagement Initiative, “Every day that Arpaio focused on terrorizing immigrant and Latino communities while serious criminals roamed the streets of Maricopa County made other law enforcement officials’ jobs harder across the nation. The Department of Homeland Security should be commended for limiting its cooperation with Arpaio, but until the racial profiling and aggressive tactics he championed are no longer encouraged by state laws like Alabama’s or tacitly condoned by federal programs like Se Communities, we have not yet eradicated his legacy of fear. Unfortunately, Arpaio has flaunted his unconstitutional tactics with such vigor that, nothing short of a federal consent decree will get him to comply DOJ requests and change his behavior.”
According to Sarahi Uribe, National Campaign Coordinator, National Day Laborer’s Organizing Network, “The DOJ report is what compelled the Department of Homeland Security to do what it should have done on former Arizona Governor Napolitano’s first day on the job as head of DHS. It stripped him of his badge when it comes to immigration enforcement. Now we should learn the lessons from Arizona and deal not just with this Sheriff but with the implications of this report on a national level.”

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Arizona governor defends day-labor restrictions in state’s immigration enforcement law

Source: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, December 15, 2011

PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer has asked a judge to dismiss a request by opponents of Arizona’s immigration law to block enforcement of the law’s ban on people blocking traffic when they seek or offer day-labor services on streets.

The ban was among a handful of provisions in the law that were allowed to take effect after U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton halted enforcement of more controversial elements of the law.

Opponents had sought a court order to block enforcement of the day-labor provision under the argument that it unconstitutionally restricts the free speech rights of people who want to express their need for work.

Brewer’s lawyers argued that the First Amendment doesn’t protect the blocking of traffic and that the law is aimed at promoting traffic safety.

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NDLON Responds to DHS Action, Calls for End to Se Communities Nationally

 

In reaction to the Department of Homeland Security announcement that it is severing its 287(g) agreement with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and restricting his access to Se Communities, Chris Newman, Legal Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, issued the following statement:

“We are pleased the Department of Justice report compelled the Department of Homeland Security to take steps today that should have been taken years ago.   As the DOJ report implies, DHS was an accomplice in the rights violations caused by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  DHS enabled Sheriff Arpaio to conduct his reign of terror, and expansion of the Maricopa Sheriff’s approach led to SB 1070 and to the potential Arizonification of the country.  Today, the Department of Justice again acted to clean up the mess caused by failed DHS policies that enlist local police into the business of enforcing unjust immigration laws.   It is time for DHS to stop contributing to the civil rights crisis described in the DOJ report and end the programs that made Arpaio’s crimes possible.”


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NDLON Responds to DOJ Report, Calls for Severing of DHS Ties to Sheriff Arpaio

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 .”

 

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

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Day laborers keep up hopes on Guadalupe Day

By: Ed Langlois, Staff Writer | 12/13/2011 | Source: CatholicSentinel.org

Day laborers keep up hopes on Guadalupe Day

Catholic Sentinel photos by Ed Langlois. During Guadalupe procession by day laborers, search Jesus Sanchez carries statue while Paul Riek, Matt Cato and Francisco Aguirre sing.

In the corner of a former Northeast Portland garage, day laborers on Dec. 12 lovingly pieced together a shrine with a two-foot-tall statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. One worker with rough hands gently slipped a rose into a soda bottle and placed the flower beside the image, one of the most important symbols in Latin American Catholicism.

“It’s a very special day. It’s like my heart,” 29-year-old Marcos Alvares said through a translator.

A native of Michoacan, Alvares recalls celebrating the Dec. 12 feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe as a boy — songs in a splendid church at midnight, steaming cups of cocoa and trays full of sweets. On this Guadalupe day, 17 years after he came to the U.S., he’s happy to huddle for warmth with other men hoping to be hired for manual labor.

Day laborers keep up hopes on Guadalupe Day

Laborers sing as they march past a neighborhood store in Northeast Portland.

Alvares, a member of St. Anne Parish in Gresham, once owned a small construction company. He would drive to this same tidy little garage — the VOZ Worker Center — to pick up laborers. After the crash of the economy and the failure of his business, Alvares himself is in need of work.

More than a dozen workers braved raw cold in the early morning Dec. 12 and processed for a mile with the statue, singing traditional songs in honor of Mary. On busy Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., curious motorists stared. One pedestrian, a young woman in a long wool coat, stopped and smiled as the men streamed past.

At Southeast 6th and Ankeny, a corner where laborers once waited for jobs before the center opened a few blocks away in 2008, the men waved to bicyclists and wished the riders “Buenos Dias.” The marchers invited a group at a nearby bus stop to join in the walk and return to the VOZ Worker Center for Mass and a plate of tamales.

Day laborers keep up hopes on Guadalupe Day

Juan Sop plays guitar as Angel Bueno sings during day laborer Guadalupe procession.

One of the walkers was Angel Bueno, 40. He comes to the center every day and sometimes is hired. On other days, he waits in vain until sundown. On those bad days, he says, he prays to Our Lady of Guadalupe for comfort and aid.

“Since I was a child, I’ve believed Our Lady of Guadalupe is very special,” says the mustached Bueno, a hood pulled over his baseball cap. “She helps me in my daily life.”

On occasion, groups of men would slip away from the singing to meet an arriving truck, an employer in need of help. Those left behind waved to their friends and wished them luck, all the while praying their number would come up soon.

VOZ is funded in part by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which parishioners support with a collection each November. A committee of laborers helps lead the center, located in a small lot on the corner of Northeast MLK and Everett.

Matt Cato, director of the Archdiocese of Portland’s Office of Life, Justice and Peace, marched and sang with the workers in the morning frost. Cato is aware that city officials have extended the Worker Center lease, but that VOZ organizers would prefer more stability.

“The hope is to convince the city to give them permanence here,” Cato says.

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