Tag: Joe Arpaio

The Sting of Rejection

OK, the Democratic president who insisted, “Si, Se Puede” hasn’t kept his promise to make immigration reform a top priority. Furthermore, he has deported more Latinos than anybody in history, despite the fact that there are fewer undocumented people to arrest.

So getting the Hispanic vote should be easy for the GOP, which continues to insist that Latinos are Republican but don’t know it. In essence, conservatives say Latinos are voting against their own interests, which is ironic considering that Republicans depend on their rural white base to do exactly that.

There’s just one problem.

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All Aboard

So I was at Union Station here in Los Angeles, waiting to board the Amtrak (more in a future post on what happened once I got on the train). Suddenly I noticed a commotion, and I saw people scurrying around. I checked my twitter feed, which confirmed that ICE was raiding the station.

They were looking for undocumented immigrants, who (if they subscribed to the same twitter feeds as me) already knew to leave the station.

I have no idea how many people ICE nabbed, but I imagine it wasn’t too successful of an operation. I mean, everybody — bored travelers, American citizens, legal residents, little kids, day laborers, you name it — knew what was going on. Let’s just say that the element of surprise was lacking.

But the heavy-handed raid got me thinking. I haven’t written about illegal immigration in some time, which is a relief to me because it’s such an overwhelming, frustrating topic. But it also means that I’ve missed commenting on some truly odd stories.

For example, there was John McCain’s claim that illegal immigrants had set fires in Arizona that were burning out of control. In related news, they apparently also stole his remote control.

And just remember, this guy was almost president.

Perhaps even the residents of Arizona have had enough of the immigrant bashing. After all, they recently recalled the architect of SB 1070. Upon hearing the news, I’m sure the guy muttered, “And after all I’ve done for the nutjobs of this state…”

Meanwhile, in another forward-thinking area of the country, Alabama, the nation’s most repressive anti-immigration law was going into effect. It will, of course, be the subject of myriad lawsuits. But long before the courts make a decision, it’s quite possible that the residents of Alabama will realize that they made a grievous mistake.

For proof of that, they can look to their good friends in Georgia, which also passed tough legislation against undocumented workers. However, now that state doesn’t have enough workers to bring its crops in. Yes, that’s right — U.S. citizens have not stepped in to fill the workers gap, and Georgia farmers are in a tizzy.

Why, it’s enough to make even Georgia Republicans rethink the wisdom of bashing the undocumented.

The continuing crusade against illegal immigration makes even less sense when we find out that U.S. Border Patrol agents, far from being overwhelmed by the dreaded Brown Invasion, are more likely to be pummeled into submission by a more vicious force: sheer tedium. It appears that “agents on the U.S.-Mexico border these days have to deal with a more mundane occupational reality: the boredom of guarding a frontier where illegal crossings have dipped to record low levels.”

Of course, I’m sure if they get too bored, the agents can always snag a little girl (even if she is a U.S. citizen) and kick her out of the country. Or they could take lessons from one our favorite individuals, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and just handcuff legal residents and citizens at will.

Speaking of Sherriff Joe, I’m just as excited as you to know that he has a new underwear line coming out. No, I’m not kidding. You can purchase of pair of pink boxers emblazoned with the phrase “Go Joe!” or even better, “Vamos Jose!”

I’m sure I speak for all the guys out there when I say that it’s not creepy at all to think of Sherriff Joe every time you put on your underwear — nope.

And nothing makes more of a slamming fashion statement than random phrases advocating a xenophobic political position, which I’m sure will impress any ladies who are fortunate enough to see their men strip down to bright pink intimate apparel that has a man’s name splayed across it.

It sounds perfect for a first date. As always, thanks, Sherriff Joe!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a train to catch.


An Awesome Display of Force

You can’t be too careful out there. Nobody knows this better than Joe Arpaio, the self-described “toughest sheriff in America.”’ Arpaio, renowned for his obsessive focus on illegal immigration, recently sprung into action to protect his Arizona community.

Acting on a tip that dangerous criminals lurked in the Phoenix suburbs, Arpaio recently deployed a tank. Yes, he called in an armor-platted, cannon-thrusting behemoth.

He also brought in the SWAT team, got a bomb robot, and organized a convoy of armored vehicles. He then rolled this caravan of firepower into a residential neighborhood, surprising people in the sleepy enclave who no doubt had been unaware of the booming crime wave in their midst.

Was Arpaio bringing down a massive drug-running operation? Was he busting lethal gang members who murder and rape at will? Could he have been targeting a domestic terrorism plot, or arresting scores of heavily armed desperadoes?

Well, actually, he was after one guy. And that guy’s crime was… cockfighting.

Yes, “in a massive show of force [Arpaio] executed a search warrant and arrested the homeowner, Jesus Llovera, on charges of suspected cockfighting. Llovera was alone in the house at the time of the arrest, and he was unarmed.”

Now some might say that it’s a bit of overkill to conduct a militaristic operation that “cost tens of thousands of dollars” to arrest one unarmed guy. But you would be missing the point.

This is about being tough on crime, and in any case, the sheriff’s office says, they “err on the side of caution. We’re going to make sure that we have the appropriate amount of force in case we do run into anything.”

One presumes that “anything” includes several highly agitated chickens.

Many residents of the suburb were understandably alarmed to see a tank rolling down their placid streets. Their surprise must have been compounded when they discovered that washed-up action star Steven Seagal was riding in the tank. It was all part of an upcoming episode of Seagal’s new reality-television show “Lawman.” For filming purposes, Seagal has ”carte blanche to go along with the sheriff as he arrests people.”

And what an episode that will be! Arpaio and Seagal, busting down a wall with a tank, blowing out the windows on the suspect’s home, and sending in the SWAT team in full gear to bring down the cowering cockfighter. One can only imagine the scene when the cops busted in and bellowed, “Drop the chicken!”

You can’t tell me that isn’t entertainment.

As it turned out, the cops confiscated 115 chickens and euthanized them. Allow me an aside to say that I once knew a Latino guy who claimed that it was ok to raise fighting roosters because “It’s our culture.” I guess that excuses torturing animals. But that’s another post altogether.

The point is that Arpaio has once again proven that he is not to be fucked with. If he uses a tank to arrest one guy, imagine what he’ll do to undocumented immigrants… Well, maybe we don’t want to visualize that.

Anyway, let’s hope the cameras keep rolling on Arpaio. With luck, some Arizona teenager will shoplift beer from a 7-11, and Arpaio and Chuck Norris will give chase in a helicopter outfitted with rockets.

Cool!


Fear and Self-Loathing

Recently, I wrote about the Republican Party’s attempt to kill itself.

Specifically, I talked about how the GOP stance on immigration is increasingly being viewed as intolerant to Latinos.

Now, it’s easy to dismiss the harsh rhetoric coming from the right wing as the toxicity of a few racists, many of whom have found a home in the Tea Party or other conservative organizations.

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Pounding the Pavement

I’m not big on symbolic acts. For example, candlelight vigils, no matter how noble the cause, tend to annoy me. And when I was Catholic, I could never figure out how abstaining from meat on Fridays was anything other than a mild gesture that was unlikely to appease an omnipotent being.

So when I heard about the Dream Walkers, I was dubious. Now I certainly didn’t doubt their sincerity and courage, but I questioned whether their strategy would lead to anything meaningful.

The Dream Walkers, in case you don’t know, are four Latino college students from Florida who pledged to walk the fifteen hundred miles from Miami to Washington DC in order to raise awareness for the Dream Act (see my previous post on this). The students also want the government to step up on immigration reform.

Besides getting them some exercise, I wasn’t sure this interstate marathon was going to be too productive. However, the students have thus far completed their trek to DC, met with Valerie Jarret (one of President Obama’s top advisors), garnered publicity and conducted multiple interviews to educate people about the Dream Act, and even coaxed a hug out of Sherriff Joe Arpaio. That last one freaks me out.

Currently, the Dream Walkers are on stage two of their campaign. They are travelling to immigrant communities, where they will document the horrors of our messed-up immigration system. They will collect testimonials about botched deportation procedures and terrifying raids, then return to Washington DC to present their findings.

I don’t know where the students will end up, or how long they will be on the road. I also don’t know what the result of all their hard work will be.

But so far, the four of them have accomplished a hell of a lot more than even the largest candlelight vigil.


I May Have Said This 199 Times Before

This is my 200th post, so it’s a good time to offer quick updates on a couple of stories I wrote about recently.

First, in Pennsylvania, five people (including three cops) are under federal indictment for their role in the death of Luis Ramirez, an immigrant beaten to death in the street by a gang of white teenagers. I wrote about the acquittal of the teens in this piece for the Huffington Post. It will be interesting to see if anybody is held accountable for bludgeoning a Latino to death, or if the indictments are all just for show.

Second, in Arizona, Joe Arpaio (the “toughest sheriff in America”) is currently embroiled “in a whirlwind of back-and-forth accusations, investigations, indictments, arrests, and general animosity between warring factions of local politicos in… the fifth largest county in the country.” It seems that Arpaio’s habit of rounding up Latinos (in the hopes that some of them might be illegals) is the least of his problems.

What Arpaio and the teens in the Ramirez incident have in common is that their alleged behavior toward Hispanics was so egregious that people went ahead and quite literally made a federal case of it.

And lastly, let me pass along a funny picture taken at one of the horribly earnest, rage-filled protests that overwhelmed the nation in the last few months. I believe this shot is from one of the Teabagger rallies against all that out-of-control socialism that’s supposedly taking over the country. The kid on the bike is brave and, more important, quite clever:


Is that a Busted Taillight You Got There, Son?

Let me shout out “thanks” to Pipil DC and Christina for their comments on my last post.

Here’s another quick article about a news story you have missed. It seems that in Arizona, the “Toughest Sheriff in America” has overstepped his bounds.

The man with this unimaginative nickname (one that seems self-generated) is Joe Arpaio, who is the law in Maricopa County – and don’t you forget it. The sheriff has earned some attention for himself by going after illegal immigrants.

Arpaio had been working with the Department of Homeland Security to enforce federal immigration laws. Unfortunately, it seems that the sheriff wasn’t just detaining illegals. He was allegedly rounding up Latinos in general. As such, Homeland Security is trying to limit his power to arrest people for the crime of being brown.

The sheriff denies that he’s profiling. He says, “We do not go on street corners and grab people that look like they’re from another country.”

But the ACLU counters that “He’s unconstitutionally acted to racially profile many persons in the community, persons who appear or are Latino” so that he can “appeal to his anti-immigration base.”

Now, we all know (because I’ve heard it on talk radio) that the ACLU won’t rest until illegal immigrants are given the keys to our houses and allowed to sleep with our wives. So maybe the sheriff is just being hounded by liberal atheist flag-burners?

But then there is the Goldwater Institute, a libertarian group that has denounced the sheriff’s actions and said that his department “falls seriously short of fulfilling its mission.” The Goldwater Institute, not exactly known for being a hangout for hippies, says that Arpaio has “diverted resources away from basic law-enforcement functions to highly publicized immigration sweeps, which are ineffective in policing illegal immigration.”

It’s at times like this that I’m grateful for old-school conservatives, who are still likely to get peeved when civil liberties are trampled. Social conservatives and neocons, of course, are different, in that they are first people to dismiss Constitutional rights as too cumbersome for our modern world. The contradiction between these definitions of “conservative” is far too complicated and depressing to address in this post.

Suffice to say, when you’re in Arizona, keep an eye out for Sheriff Joe. He may be arresting people based on the color of their skin. He may be ignoring real crime and sidestepping the law. And he may be shirking his duty in order to get cozy with xenophobic nuts.

But he’s a tough guy, you know.

sheriff


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