Big March In Phoenix Aimed At Removing Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Demonstrators from across the country are gearing up to assemble in Phoenix, Arizona next Saturday to demand that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio be removed from office. Arpaio has remained the top foe of immigrants living in the US and they’re ready to step up their fight.
The Los Angeles-based organization, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON.org), is coordinating a mass march in downtown Phoenix and are calling for people who don’t live in Arizona to join them.
Arpaio’s office has been under investigation by the Department of Justice for alleged racial-profiling and unfair treatment of Latinos. The ACLU has also filed a number of lawsuits on behalf of clients who were targeted by Arpaio’s deputies based on their skin color.
Maricopa County had been granted the power to enforce immigration law by ICE in 2004, but Arpaio’s use of that power was overstepped. Over the years, claims of intimidation and harassment by his office raised red flags and in 2009 the DOJ initiated a probe against Arpaio in which he refused to cooperate.
Last October, the Department of Homeland Security, under which ICE operates, stripped Arpaio from his ability to enforce immigration law, which includes questioning people about their immigration status and arresting them on the spot if they cannot provide proof that they are in the country legally. But a defiant Arpaio has continued to enforce immigration law under Arizona’s “Coyote Law.”
Vigilante groups have been Arpaio’s greater supporters from the beginning, defending the sheriff and also holding their own protests against immigrant groups. Immigrant advocacy organizations have been concerned that the vigilantes foment hate against immigrants that legally reside in the country as well as those who are undocumented.
In a video produced by NDLON to promote the January 16 march, an activist speaks out against the hate against immigrants that has taken a hold of people in Arizona:
“Our country must not become Arizona, we must raise our voices. We must ensure that other states, counties and municipalities don’t continue to adopt the policies, the practices, and the extreme anti-immigrant sentiment that prevails in Arizona.”
According to the group’s website, it hopes to accomplish the following:
- A termination of Sheriff Arpaio’s 287(g) contract, which grants him federal immigration law enforcement authority.
- An end to the controversial 287(g) program, the so called ” Secure Communities” initiative, and others like them that spread racial profiling and civil rights abuses across the nation.
- An end to criminalization of migrants and communities of color in the name of immigration enforcement.
- An end to family separation and government terror.
- The passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation that provides legal status and political equality to undocumented immigrants.
- A restoration of rights to all, including constitutional protections and due process.
For more information on the January 16 National Call To Action, click here.