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
In September, Manu Chao ended his US tour with a ‘Festival de Resistencia’ free concert in Phoenix, Arizona, to protest against anti-immigrant policies that have made the state of Arizona a “capital of prejudice.” The free concert was held in collaboration with the National Day Labourer Organising Network (NDLON), whose ‘Alto Arizona’ campaign is part of an ongoing effort to bring visibility, recognition, dignity and to migrants who have been targets of hate in Arizona and around the world.
Last year, Arizona passed Senate Bill 1070, the beginning of a wave of the most anti-immigrant legislation the US has not seen in generations. The passage of SB 1070 Arizona dramatically expanded police powers to stop, question and detain individuals for not having proper identification, a move that encourages racial profiling and legitimizes intolerance.
NDLON is a national migrant worker organisation that has been seeking to bring relief to the state of Arizona and challenge the spread of Arizona-style laws to other states such as Georgia and Alabama. In Arizona, NDLON and local member organizations are asking the federal government to bring Maricopa County’s Sheriff Arpaio to justice by taking away his immigration law enforcement power and by concluding the three-year-old Department of Justice investigation into his civil rights abuses. The law is currently being blocked by a federal judge.
As the son of parents who fled Franco’s Spain, Chao can personally relate to the discrimination and displacement experienced under aggressive governance. “For the past year, we’ve carried the people of Arizona in our hearts as we witnessed them suffer under such ignorant laws” says Chao.
While in Arizona, Manu Chao visited the perimeter fence of the notorious jail facility known as ‘Tent City’, which was conceived by Sheriff Arpaio, and where inmates are forced to suffer degrading and to endure the extreme temperature range of the desert by living outside in tents.
Manu Chao, along with bandmate Madjid Fahem, serenaded the walls of the jail with a heartfelt rendition of his song ‘Clandestino’. This version was captured on film by filmmaker Alex Rivera, whose work strives to draw attention to the Latin-American community in the US. The footage was produced by the National Day Labourer Organising Network (NDLON) and can be seen on the ‘Alto Arizona’ site http://www.altoarizona.com
NUEVO VIDEO DE MANU CHAO DE PROTESTA ‘ALTO DE ARIZONA’
29 de noviembre 2011. Phoenix, AZ
En septiembre, Manu Chao terminó su gira por EE.UU. con un concierto gratuito “Festival de Resistencia” en Phoenix, Arizona, para protestar contra las políticas anti-inmigrantes que han convertido al estado de Arizona en “La Capital de los Prejuicios.” El concierto se celebró en colaboración con la Red Nacional del Jornaleros (NDLON), que sostiene la campaña “Alto Arizona”. La campaña “Alto Arizona” es parte de un esfuerzo continuo para lograr visibilidad, el reconocimiento, la dignidad y la curación a los inmigrantes que han sido objeto de odio en Arizona y en todo el mundo.
El año pasado, Arizona aprobó la ley SB 1070, que marco el comienzo de una ola de legislación anti-inmigrante. La más severa que se ha visto en generaciones en los EE.UU. La aprobación de la SB 1070 en Arizona amplio dramáticamente los poderes policiales para detener, interrogar y detener a personas por no tener una identificación adecuada, una estrategia que alienta la discriminación racial y le da legitimidad a la intolerancia.
NDLON es una organización nacional de trabajadores inmigrantes, que ha estado tratando de llevar alivio al estado de Arizona y frenar el avance de las leyes estilo “Arizona” a otros estados, como Georgia y Alabama. En Arizona, NDLON y las organizaciones locales miembros están pidiendo al gobierno federal traer ante la justicia a el alguacil del Condado de Maricopa, Joe Arpaio. Pedimos que le quiten el poder que tiene para ejercer leyes de inmigración y también pedimos que se le de una conclusión a la investigación empezada por El Departamento de Justicia hace tres años por sus violaciones a los derechos civiles. Actualmente, la ley está siendo bloqueada por un juez federal.
Como hijo de padres que huyeron de la España de Franco, Chao personalmente puede identificarse con la discriminación y el desplazamiento sufrido bajo tan agresiva gobernanza. “Durante el último año, hemos llevado al pueblo de Arizona en nuestros corazones, mientras somos testigos de su sufrimiento a causa de estas leyes ignorantes”, dice Chao.
Durante su estadia en Arizona, Manu Chao visitó el perímetro de la notoria cerca de alambre del centro carcelario conocido como “Tent City”, que fue creada por el Sheriff Arpaio, y donde los reclusos son obligados a sufrir tratos degradantes y a soportar temperaturas extremas del desierto viviendo afuera en carpas.
Manu Chao, junto a su compañero de banda, Fahem Madjid, canto frente a los muros de la cárcel con una interpretación sincera y profunda de su canción ‘Clandestino’. Esta versión fue filmada por el cineasta Alex Rivera, quien con su obra se esfuerza por llamar la atención hacia la comunidad latinoamericana en los EE.UU.. El video fue producido por la Red Nacional del Jornaleros (NDLON) y puede ser visto en el sitio http://www.altoarizona.com ‘Alto Arizona’
LOS ANGELES, CA – Today, the Los Angeles Superior Court rejected Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca’s attempt to block rights advocates’ request for information under the California Public Records Act. The Sheriff had sought to keep confidential information about the Sheriff’s participation in federal deportation programs. The lawsuit was brought by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC). Plaintiffs are represented by the Law Office of Sanjukta M. Paul.
Jessica Karp of NDLON said, “Today’s decision is a victory for the people of Los Angeles. We have the right to know how much of our tax dollars the Sheriff is spending to facilitate deportations that separate families and we will continue to pursue that right in this case.”
As Los Angeles County faces the likelihood of running out of jail space within the next month, the judge’s decision means that the Sheriff may soon be forced to reveal the number of inmates who are being held in county jail for purely civil immigration violations. The Sheriff may also be forced to reveal the cost of the County’s participation in the federal Se Communities deportation program and the number of people who have been deported through the County jails.
Carl Bergquist of CHIRLA added, “As we have seen in similar cases, both locally and nationally, these attempts to withhold information from the public may be undemocratic but ultimately they prove to be futile. We have a right to know how and why our elected Sheriff – in a time of declining crime – is collaborating with the Federal Government to deport community members who in no way, shape or form are threats to public safety.”
After years of requesting public documents through the California Public Records Act, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) in June announced that they were taking legal action to obtain information about the Los Angeles County’s ties to federal immigration enforcement efforts. The lawsuit, which names Baca as a defendant, charges that the sheriff violated the California Public Records Act by refusing to disclose information about his dealings with ICE.
“Whether foreign or native born, Angelenos deserve to know how the Sheriff Baca – an elected official – has chosen to use his precious resources,” saidMelissa Keaney, an attorney with the National Immigration Law Center. “Information about the Sheriff’s law enforcement priorities should be made public to all those living within this county. We hope Sheriff Baca and his attorneys will promptly comply with the law and shed light on his department’s secretive practices with ICE.”
Plaintiffs’ counsel, Sanjukta M. Paul, said, “I am very pleased by the Court’s order today, which overruled the County’s motion on each and every issue the County raised.”
Late yesterday, defendants in the case NDLON v ICE filed an appeal and emergency stay to block a court order requiring the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency to make public a legal memorandum detailing the agency’s rationale for converting Se Communities into a mandatory program.
Federal district court Judge Shira Scheindlin had ordered ICE to produce the memorandum by November 14. Advocates will continue to argue for immediate release of this key memo. It is the only document produced to date that, although heavily redacted, appears to comprehensively describe the legal authority claimed by ICE in support of its position mandating state and local participation in the program.
Said Jessica Karp of the National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON), “While ICE has sprinted to implement S-Comm across the country, they’ve done the opposite to comply with court orders that would bring transparency to the program. The fact that the agency is fighting so hard to prevent the public’s access to this key document forces the question of what ICE is hiding.”
Instead of complying, ICE is challenging Judge Scheindlin’s October 24 Order which stated, “Once an agency has adopted a legal analysis as its own…that analysis becomes the government’s ‘working law,’ and the public ‘can only be enlightened by knowing what the [agency] believes the law to be.’”
Said Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Sunita Patel, “ICE’s on-going strategy of delaying release of important Se Communities documents must be stopped. Lack of transparency continues to prevent needed scrutiny of Se Communities. The public deserves access to the program’s full scope and underlying rationale.”
Said Sonia Lin of the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at the Cardozo School of Law, “States and localities around the country have opposed Se Communities and sought ways to limit the impact of the program on the safety and security of their communities. The public needs the truth about this massive deportation program now.”
The lawsuit was originally brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law with the law firm of Mayer Brown LLP on behalf of the National Day Laborer Organization Network.
Visit CCR’s NDLON v. ICE case page or the joint website, UncovertheTruth.org, for the text of the FOIA request, the lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York, and all other relevant documents.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit www.ccrjustice.org; follow @theCCR.
The mission of the National Day Laborer Organization Network is to improve the lives of day laborers in the U.S. by unifying and strengthening its member organizations to be more strategic and effective in their efforts to develop leadership, mobilize day laborers in order to protect and expand their civil, labor and human rights. Visit www.ndlon.org
The Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law was founded in 2008 to provide quality pro bono legal representation to indigent immigrants facing deportation. Under the supervision of experienced practitioners, law students in the Clinic represent individuals facing deportation and community-based organizations in public advocacy, media and litigation projects. Visit www.cardozo.yu.edu/immigrationjustice